Special Project: NREL

I've been waiting for a while to announce this one. Last fall I applied for an Innovative Research Analysis Award Program grant from the National Renewable Energy Lab. It took a while to get the paperwork squared away, but the award is now official. From the NREL website:

Power System Balancing with High Renewable Penetration: the Potential of Demand Response in Hawai'i

The State of Hawai'i has adopted an aggressive renewable portfolio standard of 40% renewable energy by 2030. Most system balance studies in Hawai'i have focused on grid assets such as spinning reserve or energy storage to provide electricity when generation from renewable resources changes unexpectedly. Demand Response (DR) is an alternate strategy in which the grid operator ensures system stability by managing select consumers' loads, such as changing air conditioner set points or turning off non-essential loads within the service area according to a pre-approved prioritization plan. Demand Response may provide a lower-cost solution to balancing intermittent supplies, enabling the State to achieve its goals for reduced energy dependence. This research will use time series data for demand, wind speed, and wind speed forecasts to identify the potential grid-value of Demand Response, as well as DR program design to meet the needs of both the electric utility and electricity customers. A unit commitment model will simulate the relative production of wind, thermal, and demand response resources, then predict the frequency, duration, and scope of curtailment events necessary to maintain a balanced grid. Lessons learned in Hawai'i can be applied in other regions.

Collaborators: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Estimated completion is September, with publications and conferences to follow. This project is the reason why I delayed my graduation from Summer to Fall. It's exciting to see it come together.