The Potential for Supply-Following Loads to Enable Deep Renewables Penetration in Electricity Grids

February 27, 2013 - 12:00pm
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Driven by renewables portfolio standards and other high-level policy directives, renewable electricity generation is being phased in to the electrical grid at an unprecedented rate, and primarily displacing traditional fossil fuel-powered sources. Most electricity generation by renewables is non-dispatchable, meaning that it often fluctuates unpredictably and cannot be scheduled or shifted. This makes matching supply and demand to ensure electrical reliability a fundamentally new challenge as the proportion of renewable sources increases.   To overcome the challenges of fluctuating renewable generation, my research studies the use of supply-following electrical loads that are responsive to grid conditions such as energy availability or electricity price. This talk presents the design, implementation, and evaluation of three supply-following loads that make use of wireless sensor networks and advanced controls: a refrigerator, a heat pump for cooling a room or house, and a ventilation system in a large commercial building. I also discuss some critical networking and control challenges in scaling up supply-following throughout electricity grids, and examine the potential of supply-following loads at the scale of the California electrical grid.     (Note: the publications referenced in the talk can be found here:  

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