The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognizes the need to transform the energy infrastructure of the U.S. and other countries into systems that can significantly reduce environmental impacts in an efficient and economically viable manner while utilizing both clean energy generation sources and hydrocarbon resources. Thus, DOE is supporting research and development that could lead to more efficient utilization of clean nuclear and renewable energy generation sources. A concept being advanced by the DOE offices of Nuclear Energy (NE) and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is tighter coupling of nuclear and renewable energy sources in a manner that better optimizes energy use for the combined electricity, industrial manufacturing, and the transportation sectors.
This integration concept has been referred to as a "hybrid system" capable of providing energy (thermal or electrical) where it is needed, when it is needed. For purposes of this work, the hybrid system would integrate two or more energy resources to generate two or more products, one of which must be an energy commodity, such as electricity or transportation fuel. This definition requires coupling of subsystems ''behind'' the electrical transmission bus, where energy flows are dynamically apportioned as necessary to meet demand, and the system has a single connection to the grid that provides dispatchable electricity as required while capital-intensive generation assets operate at full capacity.
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