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Spring ECE Seminar Series on the Future Power Grid

Smart Grid and Renewable Energy
Pramod Khargonekar
Climate change is widely considered in the scientific community to be one of the most pressing challenges to human civilization. Sustainable development to elevate the standard of living of world population is a closely related major challenge. Reduction in carbon emissions is one key strategy to mitigate these looming problems. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are very attractive from this perspective. They also contribute to increased energy security. Smart grid is a vision of the future electricity system wherein communications, control, computation technologies will make the electric grid more efficient, resilient, and capable of deep integration of renewable generation. A fundamental challenge is that these energy sources are highly variable – they are not dispatchable, experience large and rapid changes, and are difficult to predict. What will be the architecture of this future green smart grid? It will certainly include improved forecasts, demand shaping, electricity storage, optimal grid operations, and new market instruments. At the same time, the smart grid also has the potential of being vulnerable to cyberattacks. These issues pose a rich mix of opportunities for creative research that can have great impact. Much of our work in this area is in collaboration with Professor Poolla and Varaiya at the University of California, Berkeley and also involves several other collaborators across the world.

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