By October 12, 2017 Read More →

27 October – “Distributed resources shift paradigms on how we design, plan, and operate power systems: an application of the GAP model”

Date: 27 October 2017
Time: 12:00pm
Location: Baker 129 Conference Room
Speaker: Juan Pablo Carvallo
Topic: Distributed resources shift paradigms on how we design, plan, and operate power systems: an application of the GAP model

Abstract: Power systems have evolved following a century old paradigm of planning and operating a grid based on large central generation plants connected to load centers through a transmission grid and distribution lines with radial flows. This paradigm is being challenged by the development and diffusion of modular generation and storage technologies. New planning, design, and operation directives are needed for existing power systems in wealthier countries and emerging power systems in low income economies. We develop a novel approach to assess the sequencing and pacing of centralized, distributed, and off-grid electrification strategies by employing the Grid and Access Planning (GAP) model. GAP is a capacity expansion model to jointly assess operation and investment in utility-scale generation, transmission, distribution, and distributed resources. Contrary to the current practice, we find ample space for hybrid systems that pair grid connections with decentralized PV, storage, and diesel generation. In areas with lower load factors, distribution grids are dimensioned to meet baseload and distributed resources are used to meet peak demand. Distributed storage is particularly relevant and is deployed at capacities 10-15 times larger than utility-scale storage. Operation strategy for storage depends on grid connectivity and customer density, which in turn inform different business models for this technology. When distributed PV and storage are not employed in power system expansion, average LCOE increases by 15%-20%. We explore scenarios for emerging economies with underdeveloped grids and find that targets for meeting minimum demand levels for lighting and charging substantially change the electrification decisions. These results have important implications to reform current utility business models in developed power systems and to guide development of electrification strategies in underdeveloped grids.


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