Planning the Nation’s Largest Net-Zero Energy District

NREL researchers are using advanced modeling and visualization tools to help create the planned net-zero energy district, Peña Station NEXT, in Denver, Colo.

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory is teaming up with Xcel Energy and Panasonic to develop  the nation’s first scalable, net-zero grid infrastructure that incorporates more efficient renewable energy in planned developments before construction.

The project will use energy consumption and efficiency data collected at Peña Station NEXT, a net-zero planned development near Denver, to model scalable grid and efficiency systems solutions for larger projects in the future.

“The NREL partnership with Xcel Energy helps deliver on our shared vision for clean, affordable, and reliable energy systems at a pace and scale that matters for our society,” said Juan Torres, NREL’s associate laboratory director for energy systems integration.

“As a national user facility, the Energy Systems Integration Facility at NREL is an ideal place for both Panasonic and Xcel Energy to analyze and optimize the project’s energy master plan before construction, in a way that benefits all involved.”

Peña Station NEXT will utilize Panasonic’s CityNow technology to manage solar generation with battery storage and energy efficiency systems. Inspired by Panasonic’s Smart City development in Fujisawa, Japan, Peña Station NEXT’s buildings will carry LEED Silver Certification and provide residents with access to electric vehicle charging stations and waste reduction programs throughout it 382-acre property.

Xcel has already partnered with battery manufacturers, Sunverge Energy and Northern Reliability, to test rooftop solar installation with residential and utility-scale battery systems in two Denver neighborhoods in February 2017. Data collected from the systems over two-years will help reduce voltage spikes, reduce energy costs and improve ways to distribute stored power during peak hours.

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