Sempra Energy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the United States Department of Energy (DOE), laying the groundwork for a collaborative effort to advance future net-zero energy systems.

The MOU, which builds on nearly a decade of ongoing collaboration, commits both parties to continuing research and development of innovative solutions to help shape a lower-carbon future through technology and applications that can withstand growing energy demand and widespread adoption while advancing future innovation.

Sempra Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are extending their long-standing relationship to enhance the development of future net-zero energy systems. In Borrego Springs, California, in 2013, Sempra Energy’s subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E) partnered with NREL to build the nation’s first utility-owned community microgrid.

“To achieve global carbon-neutrality, energy systems will need to transform dramatically over the coming decades. Our partnership with NREL drives forward a vision to advance the energy systems of the future by focusing on innovation and resiliency,” said Lisa Alexander, senior vice president of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer for Sempra Energy. “New investment and innovative partnerships are critical to developing solutions that will manifest a global energy transition while promoting economic growth and prosperity.”

“Building on our strong history of collaboration, we are excited to accelerate our work with Sempra to advance clean energy solutions,” said┬áDoug Arent, executive director for strategic public-private partnerships at NREL. “Researching key synergies across power, low carbon fuels and industrial sectors are expected to provide critical innovations toward realizing a low carbon, equitable, affordable, secure and reliable energy economy.”

The MOU, which is not legally enforceable but establishes a framework for cooperation, calls on Sempra Energy and NREL to cooperate and share objectives centered on the following:

  • Advancing artificial intelligence to enable solutions to be scaled across the United States and to assist cities in meeting their clean energy goals;
  • Integrating low-carbon fuel technologies such as hydrogen, renewable natural gas, carbon capture, use, and sequestration, and fuel cells;
  • Investigating novel solutions for communities powered entirely by renewable energy, which will necessitate and implement smart and increased controls, integration, and operational capabilities as a template for expansion;
  • Enhancing electric grids through infrastructure upgrades that prioritize dependability, connectivity, and security;
  • Promoting realistic net-zero solutions that are equitable and widely accessible to the community.
Nedim Husomanovic

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