Brookhaven National Lab’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs received high marks recently from a team of experts who monitor the national laboratories’ efforts in these areas for the Department of Energy (DOE). The State Energy Advisory Board (STEAB) visited BNL In October to learn about the Lab’s energy strategy and what is being done to advance deployment of its capabilities to the outside world.
STEAB, composed of 21 government and energy industry executives from 17 states, advises the DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) on projects in fields from solar energy and biomass to weatherization and appliance standards. The group also undertakes coordination between individual states and the DOE. The group was urged to visit Brookhaven by board member Frank Murray, president of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
“We enjoy a very close working relationship with NYSERDA,” said Sustainable Energy Technologies Department Chair Pat Looney, who hosted the group during the visit. “We have worked with them closely and have gained their trust, and they see us as an asset in a state where we do things at a different scale.”
In the course of a three-day meeting (some of it off site), the board members heard presentations on BNL programs in stationary combustion burner research, solar energy, catalysis, energy storage, smart grid technologies and the Lab’s refocusing of its technology transfer efforts.
They also heard from Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) CEO Michael Hervey, who detailed LIPA/BNL collaborations in superconductivity and in connection with the Long Island Solar Farm, and described the utility’s working relationship with the Lab as “fabulous.” The group also toured the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) and its successor, the NSLS-II, still under construction.
“The STEAB members have been to a number of national labs across the DOE complex and one of the old-timers said this was the best Laboratory visit they’ve ever had, “ Looney said. “That’s pretty high praise. And it’s because we really are working very closely with state entities, something that has really just happened over the last five years with the emergence of the energy strategy for the Lab. We are getting out there and making real connections across the state.”
The board will report on the visit to DOE’s EERE Assistant Secretary and identify some best practices in a quest to optimize relations between the National Labs and state energy officials nationwide.