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ECIS Strategic Plan
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Energy & Climate

The Renewable Systems program works to reduce the risks of transformative energy solutions that will enhance the nation’s security and economic prosperity. The Climate/Environment program works to understand and prepare the nation for the national security implications of climate change. The Energy Infrastructure program develops and applies technologies/analytical approaches to secure the nation’s critical infrastructure against natural or malicious disruption. The Energy Research program is the capability base that supports EC and champions science at Sandia.

Renewable Systems

The Renewable Systems program area works to reduce the risks of transformative energy solutions that will enhance the nation’s security and economic prosperity. Energy security research at Sandia seeks to address key challenges facing our nation and the world. We work with the energy industry to improve current hardware and develop the next generation of technologies to extract or produce energy.

The Energy and Climate (EC) Program Management Unit (PMU) spearheads research into energy alternatives that will help the nation reduce its dependence on oil and coal and to combat the effects of climate change. Sandia’s long history with geothermal, solar, and wind energy research has seen a vast increase in effort and intensity over the past 15 years and has also been supplemented in recent years with efforts in biologically based fuels: biomass from nonfood plant sources and algae—both of which can be grown on land unsuitable for farming.

Climate/Environment

The Climate/Environment program works to understand and prepare the nation for the national security implications of climate change. National security is Sandia National Laboratories’ foundational mission. Our nation’s security can only be achieved in a stable international environment. Sandia maintains close working relationships within the many agencies of the intelligence community and the DoD. There is a growing recognition of the importance of the impact of climate change on emergent security dynamics and intervention capabilities as documented in a series of reports. The UK Ministry of Defense previously devoted more than one-third of its analysis on threats due to climate change. The climate instability we now anticipate will produce conditions that increase border tensions, reduce the abilities of allies to respond, and provide an environment ripe for breeding terrorism and extremism. Most importantly, the DoD report, “Impacts of Climate Change,” notes the critical need to substantiate climate concerns by developing analytical tools to ensure self consistency, realism, validation, and a concrete foundation for strategic/tactical and operational execution.

Energy Infrastructure

The Energy Infrastructure program develops and applies technologies and analytical approaches to secure the nation’s critical infrastructure against natural or malicious disruption.Our nation’s energy infrastructure faces two foundational challenges as we seek our vision towards an energy independent and secure future. First, elements of the infrastructure, such as the electricity transmission and distribution network, have not significantly changed since their initial creation over a century ago. It is clear that new approaches are required for the grid to accommodate the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Second, the reliability and resilience of our grid is central to our national security. For example, robust and secure power is essential to key infrastructure such as military installations. Economically, electricity outages presently cost our economy $150 billion annually.

Energy Research

The DOE Office of Science (SC) is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the U.S., providing more than 40 percent of total funding in this area. Sandia has active research programs funded by the SC Offices of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Biological & Environmental Research (BER), and Fusion Energy Sciences (FES). This work is foundational to many mission areas at Sandia, from energy, to nuclear weapons, to national security generally. The Office of Science is renowned for its ability to build and operate user facilities to enable fundamental research that are open to researchers from around the world on the basis of peer reviewed proposals.

EC Popular Publications

View all of the Energy & Climate Publications

Sandia Funded to Model Power Pods for Utility-Scale Wave-Energy ConverterPlanning an open-water test facility for utility-scale wave-energy converters (WECs) within the US requires a multifaceted approach. Concerns regarding the siting and permitting, the environmental interactions, the device performance, and the cost of the facility must all be simultaneously addressed. The DOE has started to investigate a utility-scale WEC testing facility with the recent awards [...]
Wave Energy Resource Characterization at US Test SitesSandia is creating on an open-source catalog for wave-energy converter (WEC) developers with a detailed and consistent wave resource characterization at three US test sites the Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, HI; the North Energy Test Site (NETS) offshore of Newport, OR; and a potential site offshore of Humboldt Bay, CA. Hindcast [...]
Sandia Report Presents Analysis of Glare Impacts of Ivanpah Solar Power SiteThe Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) consists of three 459-ft-tall power towers and over 170,000 reflective heliostats with a rated capacity of 390 MW. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has received numerous pilot and air traffic controller glare-impact reports. The situation is serious because pilots report that they cannot “scan the sky in that direction [...]

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