By January 15, 2019 Read More →

18 January – Decarbonizing the energy system: analyzing the next wave of interventions

Date: 18 January 2019
Time: 12:00pm
Location: Baker Hall 129 Conference Room
Speaker: Ahmed Abdulla
Topic: Decarbonizing the energy system: analyzing the next wave of interventions

Abstract: Avoiding the worst consequences of climate change hinges on the transition to a deeply decarbonized global energy system. Recent studies suggest that the least costly and risky way in which this transition could unfold is through radical electrification that is dominated by low-carbon sources of electricity. Several enthusiastic visions of this future have been put forward, but enthusiasm is no substitute for analysis to mitigate unintended consequences from rapid large-scale technological changes.

This talk will cover recent and ongoing research that evaluates the next wave of potential technical and policy interventions to transform the electric power system. In California, policy makers are promoting distributed energy resources like residential solar and energy storage and anticipating that they will both decarbonize and decentralize the electric power system. This presentation will describe a systematic analysis of the potential effects on the electric power system of deploying residential energy storage (RES). Our results show that RES systems predominantly increase emissions when users seek to minimize their electricity cost.

Policy makers in California are also exploring novel solutions to deal with curtailed electric power from renewable energy generation. In the first four months of 2018, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) was forced to curtail more than 210 Gigawatt hours of wind and solar power, and CAISO is expecting these levels of curtailment to increase as more renewables are installed in pursuit of the state’s ambitious clean energy goals. Using a 240-bus reduced form of the power system of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, we develop a large-scale optimization model to analyze whether and how we could leverage curtailed electricity to power a suite of technologies that could mitigate carbon emissions. Our results allow modelers and policy makers to begin considering a range of novel greenhouse gas mitigation strategies—including negative emissions technologies—that could work alongside traditional decarbonization policies.