smart grid

Developing the Next Generation of Energy Efficiency

Dian Grueneich, Senior Research Scholar, Stanford University

Monday, September 22, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Over the past 30 years, energy efficiency has become an important tool for reducing customer and utility costs and achieving sustainability goals, particularly avoided carbon emissions, but its impact is still limited. The widely used model for delivery of energy efficiency is a utility-centric approach funded through ratepayer or other public fees with complex regulatory oversight structure.  The focus has been on delivering widgets (primarily CFLs) with limited attention to persistency of savings, linkage to procurement decisions, leveraging of private sector financing, or support for innovation. Energy efficiency needs to transform significantly over the next 30 years in order for it to be a large-scale tool for climate change and economic development.  Private investment, innovation, and deeper reliance on markets are critical to rapid expansion of energy efficiency.

I will discuss a new initiative Stanford has launched on the “next generation on energy efficiency”. This project will develop a new framework to deliver deep, persistent, and comprehensive savings, at a level far beyond historical practice.  I will discuss key areas of the project including: identifying the most successful existing energy efficiency efforts in terms of cost, persistency of savings, scalability, market share, and ease of implementation; identifying key barriers that must be overcome for the next generation of efficiency to deliver large-scale, persistent savings; analyzing new technologies and approaches that can improve efficiency uptake; researching new delivery approaches that can support energy efficiency in a more market-oriented fashion; and examining a new regulatory structure to support new approaches to energy efficiency.

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Tailoring Demand to Match Supply: How Much Flexibility There is in Loads?

Ram Rajagopal, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environental Engineering, Stanford University

Monday, January 27, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Increase in supply side variability due to increases in renewable generation require demand side management strategies to reduce electricity delivery costs. Smart grid technologies provide opportunities for measuring and controlling loads at an unprecedented scale. Yet, understanding their performance requires accurately capturing how loads respond to specific technologies and how consumer behavior affects such response.  Typical demand side management planning and capability studies have been conducted relying on theoretical scenarios of adoption and response. This talk presents a new approach utilizing large scale individual level data made available by AMI deployments (smart meters). We utilize a 500,000+ customer data set and measure the available flexibility as well as potential strategies to elicit this flexibility from consumers.We classify various types of flexibility and demonstrate methods to infer them relying on features from data that reflect both behavior and response to specific technologies.  We demonstrate that flexibility depends both on environmental and geographical considerations as well as appropriately classifying and selecting consumers.The proposed approaches illustrates the value of combining tools from statistical signal processing,  stochastic control, machine learning and economics. 

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Energy in Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials

 Eric Pop, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering, Stanford University

Monday, September 23, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center |

Energy use and conversion are important for the design of low-power electronics and energy-conversion systems. This is also a rich domain for both fundamental discoveries as well as technological advances. This talk will present recent highlights from our studies at the intersection of energy, nanomaterials, and nanoelectronics. We have investigated thermoelectric effects in graphene transistors and carbon nanotube composites, for both low-power electronics and energy harvesting. We have also examined energy-efficient data storage based on phase change (rather than charge or spin), achieving operation at femtojoules per bit, two orders of magnitude below industry state-of-the-art. The results suggest new directions to improve energy efficiency towards fundamental limits, through the design of geometry and materials.

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Grid Flexibility and Research Challenges to Enhance the Integration of Variable Renewable Energy Sources

Mark O'Malley, Electrical Engineering Dept., University College Dublin

Monday, January 14, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Grid flexibility is a characteristic that is proposed to help the integration of variable renewable energy resources. However it has proven very difficult to quantify and this has spurred intense research efforts over the past few years. There are many sources, sinks and enablers for flexibility in the grid and these are all subject to numerous research challenges. Flexibility will be introduced, defined and a number of methods to quantify it will be described. This will be followed by an overview of research into unlocking flexibility in the power system e.g. demand side participation and power system operational strategies. There are potential hidden costs of flexibility and some of these will be highlighted, for example thermal plant cycling, and mitigation measures to reduce these will be formulated. Concluding remarks will try to give insights into how a future grid with very high penetrations of variable renewable energy may look like.

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Renewable Electricity Futures

Doug Arent, Executive Director, Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis at NREL

Monday, November 26, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The Renewable Electricity Futures Study is  an initial investigation of the extent to which renewable energy supply can meet the electricity demands of the contiguous United States over the next several decades. This study explores the implications and challenges of very high renewable electricity generation levels--from 30% up to 90%, focusing on 80%, of all U.S. electricity generation from renewable technologies--in 2050.

At such high levels of renewable electricity penetration, the unique characteristics of some renewable resources, specifically geographical distribution and variability and uncertainty in output, pose challenges to the operability of the nation's electric system. The study focuses on key technical implications of this environment from a national perspective, exploring whether the U.S. power system can supply electricity to meet customer demand on an hourly basis with high levels of renewable electricity, including variable wind and solar generation. The study also identifies some of the potential economic, environmental, and social implications of deploying and integrating high levels of renewable electricity in the United States.

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Saving the World and Having a Job: Distributed Solar - Exciting Challenges and Rapid Growth

Shawn Kerrigan, Locus Energy 

Monday, June 4, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Distributed solar generation is growing rapidly across the United States and around the globe. Use of renewables has always been desirable environmentally, but now for the first time in many places it makes solid economic sense as well. A tidal wave of investment and innovation makes distributed solar a dynamic and exciting industry.

Solar energy has many advantages when used for distributed generation, such as saving costs by bypassing congested transmission and distribution systems, and directly generating power at the point of consumption. Distributed solar power brings a number of new challenges, however, due to volatile production output and a need to manage large numbers of systems across a broad area. Solving these problems requires innovations in forecasting, monitoring/analysis, managing, and servicing the large number of small-scale generation assets. This seminar will cover some of those challenges and what Locus Energy is doing to help address them.

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Unlocking the Benefits of Active Customer Participation in Wholesale Electricity Markets

Frank Wolak, the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Because electricity is a necessary input to so many economic activities, there are significant political obstacles to charging business and residential customers retail prices that reflect the hourly wholesale price of electricity. A long history of retail electricity prices that do not vary with real-time system conditions makes this task even more difficult. Finally, the lack of interval meters on the customer’s premises makes it impossible to determine precisely how much energy each customer withdraws in a given hour.

Recently a number of jurisdictions in the U.S. have installed the interval meters necessary for customers to participate actively in the wholesale market. This talk will summarize the results of a number of research projects at the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development for allowing electricity consumers to benefit from active participation in wholesale electricity markets. The results of dynamic pricing and information provision experiments will be summarized, and current and future directions for research at the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development will be described.  Necessary changes in state-level regulatory policies that can also unlock the economic benefits of modern technologies for active participation of final consumers will also be discussed.

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Emerging Electricity Futures

Amory Lovins, Cofounder, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

Monday, May 2, 2011 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Rocky Mountain Institute’s autumn 2011 Reinventing Fire will explore practical pathways for the U.S. to eliminate oil, coal, and nuclear energy by 2050 (and natural gas thereafter), led by business for profit. This ambitious synthesis integrates transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity—the sole sector previewed in this seminar. Four divergent electricity futures are feasible, plausible, surprisingly similar in cost, but very different in risk. Contrasting their technological, financial, operational, carbon, security, and other risks favors renewable futures—whose variability is manageable with little or no bulk storage—and fair competition by distributed resources in netted islandable microgrids. This future maximizes competitive opportunities for rapid innovation and learning, and seems well matched to global market trends and to emerging revolutions in customer choice and utility business models. All four futures require major regulatory reform. At least the first three need significant new transmission, though probably less for renewables than often supposed. Renewables require big shifts in utility culture and operational procedures—especially if grid architecture becomes more granular—and assume continued progress down observed cost learning curves. Renewables, with scale and technology mix modulated by markets and policies, generally hold promise of more robust response to both political obstacles and exogenous shocks than do nonrenewable futures.

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A Smarter Grid and High Penetration Renewables

Juan de Bedout, Ph.D., Global Technology Director, Electrical Technologies and Systems, GE Global Research

GCEP Distinguished Lecturer

Monday, April 25, 2011 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The last several years have seen a flurry of activity in industry and academia in the Smart Grid space.  The need for a smarter electrical grid in North America stems from emerging challenges in congestion, reliability, safety and renewable energy integration, that may be more cost effectively resolved with advanced controls technology than with bulk infrastructure growth.  Solutions to these problems require system thinking; many technologies need to work together to collectively provide relief.  It is important to note that the problems change dramatically as you migrate to different parts of the world, with every region having unique challenges and opportunities.  This talk will focus on Smart Grid technologies for mature grids such as the one in North America, and will pay special attention to the integration of renewable energy resources.  A brief discussion of the grid in India will be provided for contrast.

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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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