Secretary Perry tours the innovative technology of NREL

Perry and Sen. Cory Gardner lauds labs work

Posted 8/15/18

Remarkable work on renewable energy and energy efficiency is being done at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “The innovation that's within these walls is just stunning,” said U.S. …

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Secretary Perry tours the innovative technology of NREL

Perry and Sen. Cory Gardner lauds labs work

Posted

Remarkable work on renewable energy and energy efficiency is being done at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

“The innovation that's within these walls is just stunning,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “What's going on (here) today has the potential to change the world.”

Perry directed these comments to NREL employees during an Aug. 14 visit to the lab when he and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, R-CO, toured the Energy Systems Integration and the Science and Technology facilities on the lab campus in Golden.

On the tour, they learned about the innovations emerging from NREL, including solar materials research and the Peregrine supercomputer — the lab's flagship high-performance computing system dedicated to renewable energy and energy efficiency research unveiled in 2013.

However, as Perry and Gardner were on their tour, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sent out a press release about Eagle — the lab's next high-performance computing system that will be 3.5 times more powerful than the current system. It will be installed in the Golden facility's Energy System Integration Facility data center this summer and put to use in January 2019.

Following their tour, Dr. Martin Keller, NREL's director, hosted Perry and Gardner for an all-hands meeting for NREL employees where they talked about the future of the lab and renewable energy.

The “incredible work” being done at NREL produces “fascinating opportunities for America,” Perry said to employees, adding part of his job is to share these stories with the rest of the nation and to leaders across the globe so they “know we're innovating and changing the world.”

NREL is one of 17 national laboratories operated by the DOE. It is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research.

Boasting more than 700 active public-private partnership agreements, the lab works towards getting the information and technology from the lab to the marketplace.

NREL is on the cutting-edge of this, Keller said during a brief press conference with media following the laboratory tour and all-hands meeting.

“That's the DNA and culture of our laboratory,” Keller said.

One question during the press conference inquired if the lab's funding was secure under the Trump Administration. Perry answered with a “yes,” adding, “we've got a good budget to work with to fund NREL and the other national labs” as congress directs.

When running for president in 2011, Perry said the DOE was one of three government agencies he thought should be eliminated. But during his January 2017 senate confirmation hearing to become the DOE Secretary, Perry said that after he was briefed on “`so many of the vital functions'” of the DOE," that he changed his mind, and regretted recommending its elimination.

During his confirmation, Perry also said that as the head of the department, he would be "passionate about advocating and advancing the core missions of the DOE."

During the press conference at NREL, Perry pointed out that he “hopes it's clear” that he's also “all for” keeping coal and nuclear power plants across the country.

On his website, Gardner also states that he supports “developing and utilizing American energy of all kinds. This includes the use of traditional power like coal, oil, nuclear, natural gas, along with the use of renewable energy such as wind, solar, hydroelectric power, and geothermal.”

Still, Gardner smiled as Perry addressed the lab employees on the innovative work they were doing each day.

And he added during the press conference: “Our future is an energy future,” Gardner said. “NREL is going to be the heartbeat of that grid.”

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