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The Electric Power Research Institute, or EPRI, conducts research, development, and demonstration projects to benefit the public in the United States and internationally.
EPRI is an independent, nonprofit organization that focuses on research related to energy and environment, electricity generation, distribution, and utilization, and nuclear power.
Following the Northeast blackout of 1965, the Senate held hearings in the early 1970s about the lack of research supporting the power industry. All sectors of the U.S. electricity industry pooled their funds to begin an industry-wide collaborative research program. EPRI was established, as a response, in 1972 as the Electric Power Research Institute. Created as an independent, nonprofit organization designed to manage a broad public-private collaborative research program on behalf of the electric utility industry, the industry’s customers, and society at large. EPRI’s creation was a recognition of the impact of electricity on modern life.
The institute's research and development program spans every aspect of generation, environmental protection, power delivery, retail use, and power markets. EPRI provides services to more than 1000 energy-related organizations in 40 countries. It has more than 900 patents to its credit.
EPRI laid the groundwork in the 1970s for the use of power electronics in the utility system, sometimes known as FACTS (Flexible AC Transmission Systems), established the largest electric and magnetic fields health program in the world and has played a role in resolving scientific questions concerning potential links to cancer. EPRI is in the Advisory Council of the PHEV Research Center and created the world’s largest center for nondestructive testing, used first for nuclear inspection and now increasingly for internal diagnostics of fossil power plants and industrial systems.
Chauncey Starr was the founding president of EPRI. In 2011, current CEO Michael Howard was listed as the highest paid leader of a non-profit based in Silicon Valley with total compensation of $1.6 million.
According to its 2017 Annual Research Portfolio, EPRI's research and development for renewable energy includes several key areas: Environment Sector research addresses environmental characteristics of renewables, such as impacts to threatened and endangered species, and issues associated with waterpower, renewable integration, air quality and land use. Typically such research is integrated into existing programs related to air land and water, with a focus on minimizing impacts and mitigating barriers to renewable energy development. The institute's Generation Sector conducts research that quantifies cost, technical performance and reliability of utility-scale renewable generation. Findings can be used to inform utility planning, generation fleet management and operations and maintenance (O&M). With respect to O&M research can include a focus on improving various aspects, including developing new technologies and materials. Within the renewables portfolio, EPRI focuses on wind, solar and hydropower.  The research portfolio website is at this URL: http://www.epri.com/Our-Portfolio/Pages/Default.aspx
In 2010, EPRI was part of a team to be awarded with Power Engineering magazine’s 2010 Coal-Fired Project of the Year. The project, “DryFining,” created a new technology for coal-firing power plants that improves fuel quality, decreases volatile gas emissions, and reduces a plant’s operating expenses and maintenance costs. The team was led by electric service provider Great River Energy of Maple Grove, Minnesota, and also included fluid bed dryer engineer Heyl & Patterson Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, Lehigh University’s Energy Research Center and engineering construction contractor WorleyParsons.
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- 2017 Research Portfolio, EPRI Publication 3002008820
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