renewable energy

How the West Can Accommodate High Penetrations of Wind and Solar Power

Debra Lew, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

What happens when you put lots of wind and solar power onto the power system? Do you need more storage? Do you need more reserves? When does the system 'break'? What actions can be taken to integrate wind and solar power into the power system without large cost increases to consumers?


Wind and solar power are inherently variable and uncertain. This causes difficulties for power system operators who must maintain reliability. Over the past several years, utilities and researchers have simulated power system operation with various penetration levels of renewable energy, examining increased costs due to integration of the renewables and mitigation measures to more cost-effectively accommodating the renewables. Debbie will present an overview of recent renewable energy integration studies in the US and Europe. She will focus on the recently released Western Wind and Solar Integration Study, one of the largest wind and solar integration studies to date, that examines the integration of up to 35% wind and solar energy into the power system. Issues addressed include: utility cooperation, tradeoffs between local and remote renewable energy resources, geographic diversity, storage, reserves, and improved forecasting.


followed by a MAP Energy Social (details announced at the seminar)

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Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford: The Grand Challenge

Lynn Orr, Keleen and Carlton Beal Professor in Petroleum Engineering, Energy Resources Engineering Department Director, Precourt Institute for Energy



Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Franklin M. ("Lynn") Orr, Jr. became the director of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford upon its establishment in 2009. He served as director of the Global Climate and Energy Project from 2002 to 2008. Orr was the Chester Naramore Dean of the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University from 1994 to 2002. He has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1985 and holds the Keleen and Carlton Beal Chair of Petroleum Engineering in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering, and is a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. His research activities focus on how complex fluid mixtures flow in the porous rocks in the Earth's crust, the design of gas injection processes for enhanced oil recovery, and CO2 storage in subsurface formations. Orr is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He serves as vice chair of the board of directors of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and he chairs the Science Advisory Committee for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and was a foundation board member from 1999-2008.

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Panel: The Energy Innovation Ecosystem

Note different time and location - 3:45-5:15pm, McCaw Hall

Moderated by Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth


Held in conjunction with the GCEP Annual Research Symposium

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | 03:45 PM - 05:15 PM | McCaw Hall, Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center | Free and Open to All

Andrew Revkin, editor of Dot Earth, will moderate a discussion with leaders from industry about the opportunities for businesses and countries to participate in the energy economy and the "energy innovation ecosystem" that will be needed to stimulate, support, and sustain innovation in the energy sector. This panel takes place in conjunction with the Annual Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) Research Symposium which this year has the theme of “Creating a Sustainable Energy System for the 21st Century and Beyond”.

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Making large scale solar work: What is needed and what role can Stanford play?

Margot Gerritsen, Stanford University

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Most stakeholders agree that solar energy can provide a significant percentage of U.S. electrical needs over the coming decades. National public support of solar energy projects, and large scale solar projects, is strong. Despite the support and excitement, the first of the newly proposed, and fast-tracked, large scale solar projects are facing significant hurdles. Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment recently hosted a two-day forum in which industry, NGOs, policy makers and scientists discussed these challenges and brainstormed ideas to meet them. Margot Gerritsen, who led the forum, will discuss the outcomes of this fascinating forum. Questions addressed in her talk include: Why is there broad excitement about large scale solar? What are fast track projects, and why are they facing high hurdles? What do tortoises have to do with large scale solar projects? How can we make large scale solar work, and what role can Stanford play?

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Nano-scaled Materials for the Synthesis of Fuels from Sunlight

Thomas Jaramillo, Stanford University

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Solar energy is an attractive option that could potentially provide our energy needs in sustainable fashion, but a number of major scientific challenges stand in the way of developing cost-effective methods to capture and store solar energy at the terrestrial scale. One means to store this energy is in the form of fuels, i.e. using solar energy to drive redox reactions such as splitting water into H2 and O2 or the conversion of atmospheric CO2 to alcohols and hydrocarbons. This talk will focus on the development of the three key components needed to synthesize liquid and gaseous fuels from sunlight: (1) semiconductors with appropriate electronic band structure for solar photon absorption and for sufficient photovoltage to drive redox reactions, (2) water oxidation catalysis to provide the protons and electrons needed for the fuel synthesis reduction reactions, and (3) electro-reduction catalysis for the evolution of hydrogen and/or the reduction of CO2 to liquid fuels. The exploitation of nano-scale effects will be discussed as a means to tailor material surface and bulk properties to fit these needs.

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What Does the Smart Grid Enable?: A Utility and Grid Operator's Perspective

Paul De Martini, Vice President of Advanced Technology, Southern California Edison

Jim Detmers, Vice President of Operations, CA Independent Systems (CAISO)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

During the Energy Seminar’s 4-part series on the future of the Grid we have explored what the “Smart Grid” is, a case study integrating more than 50% wind on the grid, issues and solutions for extending the grid, and with this talk we will examine the requirements for integration of utility-scale renewable energy. Paul De Martini, Vice President of Advanced Technology at Southern California Edison, and Jim Detmers, Vice President of Operations at California Independent Systems Operator, will speak from a utility and grid operator’s perspective about operations today and opportunities in the future as we move into an age of renewable energy and distributed generation.


California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard is one of the most ambitious standards in the country, and they will discuss how smart grid technologies would contribute to make the 2020 targets realistic. They will examine the business case for smart grid investments and strategies for implementing smart meter demand-side management and incentives for consumer’s households. Additionally they will address the added complexities of managing our electricity distribution system while integrating renewables, meeting peak demands, and possibly responding to increased electricity demand for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

How will smart grid technologies contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Is the electric utilities sector in California structured properly to move into the age of renewable energy and distributed generation? How would you define a successful rollout of smart grid technologies? The speakers will address these questions as well during their discussion.

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China’s Growing Global Influence: A Solar Energy Perspective

Reyad Fezzani, Chief Executive Officer, BP Solar

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Reyad Fezzani is CEO of BP Solar, a pioneering, global solar energy company of BP. Reyad has lived and worked in many parts of the world from which he has developed a deep knowledge and understanding of global business and economics. He will speak from first-hand experience about the peaceful rise of Chinese capitalism, including its recent and growing influence in the solar energy industry.

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Controlling Climate Change after Copenhagen

Bert Metz, former co-chair IPCC Working Group on Mitigation of Climate Change, author of "Controlling Climate Change", and advisor to the European Climate Foundation.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Bert Metz discusses his new book, Controlling Climate Change, which provides an unbiased and comprehensive overview, based on the latest findings of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Using no jargon, it looks at tackling and adapting to man-made climate change, and works through the often confusing potential solutions. He provides a cutting edge assessment of issues at the top of the political agenda, covering scenarios to limit the consequences of warming to manageable proportions, transitions to a low carbon and climate resilient economy, the most important measures in the various economic sectors and their potential costs. The implications of the poor results of the 2009 Copenhagen Summit will also be discussed.
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Integrating More Than 50% Wind on the Grid: A Case Study

Marija Ilić, Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

In this lecture we pose the problem of sustainable electricity services as a novel systems engineering design problem. We briefly summarize today's operating and planning practices and explain why these need fundamental changing in order to enable qualitatively different electricity services. In particular, we suggest that many new resources have characteristics, which are not generally known to the system operators, and are, therefore, currently not relied on for managing supply and demand in an often-congested electric network. The new resources are also highly variable and, as such, do not lend themselves to static feed-forward scheduling without near-real time automated feedback. Instead, a transformation of this operating and planning mode into an interactive multi-temporal, multi-spatial and multi-contextual system management is needed to accommodate ever-changing system conditions, often driven by many distributed actions. In order to enable a complex system with often-conflicting functionalities, such as reliability, security, short- and long-term efficiency, and sustainability, one must rely on prediction, adaptation and adjustments by all.
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Extending the Grid: Transmission Siting Issues and How to Resolve Them

Suedeen Kelly, Former Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

In energy planning circles, in all sectors of the electric industry, in state utility regulatory commissions, and on Capitol Hill, we’ve heard a lot of discussion over the past year about changing the traditional paradigm surrounding the building of electric transmission in order to extend the country’s electric grid. Recently, the talk has moved into the arena of action. In the U.S. House and Senate, there are numerous bills that propose legislative changes to how we plan and site transmission in America—and how we allocate the cost of it. The Waxman-Markey Climate Change bill, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last year, includes such changes. All of the various bills differ one from the other. One similarity among them all is that the federal government’s role (in the person of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) would be expanded and the states’ role would be reduced.

Why is there a growing consensus for change? What’s wrong with how we’ve always done things? (How have we always done things?) Is there a problem here? What are the proposed changes? What are we trying to accomplish with change? What is the best proposal being put forward? Who likes the changes? Who stands to benefit from the changes? Will there be any losers? Ms. Kelly intends to answer these questions during her presentation. She will also discuss what is likely to happen to the U.S. electric grid if we do not see any legislative change from Congress.
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