For a 60-minute period in January 2023, a power plant like no other existed in the U.S. Mountain West. It contained a solar array, lithium-ion battery, hydrogen electrolyzers, and a nuclear reactor, all coordinating with each other to provide reliable power. Even more unusual, the plant combined real and simulated technologies hundreds of miles apart.
This unique power plant was part of a national research and development project to remotely connect energy assets in real time using the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Sciences Network (ESnet). By linking capabilities at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the researchers created a collaborative «SuperLab,» which allowed them to study energy systems currently not in existence. In this case, they demonstrated that renewable and nuclear energy, combined within a hybrid system, can complement each other well to support the grid.
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