Driven by renewables portfolio standards and emissions limits, electrical grids are phasing in renewable electricity generation at an unprecedented rate, 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, I study 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: a home heater, a refrigerator enhanced with thermal energy storage, and a heat pump for cooling a room or house. I assess to what extent these supply-following loads can improve supply and demand matching by using a model of the California electrical grid at different levels of renewables penetration. Using what remains after applying supply-following loads, I analyze the requirements for energy efficiency, demand flexibility, and seasonal energy storage to further improve the match in future, sustainable electricity grids.
Bio: Jay Taneja is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science, advised by Professor David Culler and expecting to finish in May, 2013. His primary research interests are in applications of information technology to societal-scale challenges, particularly in energy systems. He received his B.S. from The Ohio State University and his M.S. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has accepted a Research Scientist position at the new IBM Research lab in Nairobi, Kenya.
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