Coal Power Retirement

This May 6, 2013 file photo shows a wind turbine farm owned by PacifiCorp near Glenrock, Wyo. Electrical utility PacifiCorp plans to move faster away from coal-fired power while getting more juice from the sun and wind, the company announced Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

The U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday announced $1 million for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden as part of a program that invests in energy-related machine learning.

The DIFFERENTIATE initiative will give $538,600 to NREL to move away from the current system of identifying new battery composition materials, which requires humans to analyze “vast amounts” of data. The department noted that AI, or machine learning, would “enable the identification of new battery materials faster and thereby accelerate the rate at which battery performance is improving.”

A second award of $508,000 will fund modeling of wind turbines using simulations of fluid dynamics and machine-learning assisted turbulence models.

The program — whose fully name is Design Intelligence Fostering Formidable Energy Reduction (and) Enabling Novel Totally Impactful Advanced Technology Enhancements — began in April and is on its first round of disbursements totaling $15 million.

“As we develop new renewable energy methods, it’s critical that we invest in and develop new energy storage technology as well,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in response to the news. Gardner is sponsoring the AI in Government Act in this Congress, which would establish a coordinating center for artificial intelligence in the federal government.

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