Widespread Adoption of Intermittent Renewable Energy Generation, the Smart Grid and Electric Vehicles: Barriers and Synergies

Michael Caramanis, Professor of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, Boston University

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spanos Auditorium

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series

The Smart Grid means different things to different people. A general definition that constitutes a superset of the definitions adopted by special-interest-stakeholders construes the smart grid as consisting of hardware, automation, communication and intelligence embedded in centralized generation, T&D, meters, electricity use appliances, and distributed generation and resources such as roof top PV, small storage, intelligent appliances and HEVs. We believe that realizing the full benefits of the Smart Grid will require firms to integrate cyber-physical infrastructure with technologies and markets that make cost information easily available to large and small users alike (distributed loads as well as generation resources such as roof top PV and storage). This integrated entity will constitute a new Smart Grid Business Platform which will enable participants to capture value from improved load scheduling, networked business models, and new contract designs responding to the new markets' enhanced information signals. The increased value generated by the Smart Grid Business Platform will shape the evolution of public policy and real time electricity markets which are needed for clean energy technologies to first augment and eventually replace existing technologies. The real time information flow created by intelligent systems that include generators, the transmission and distribution infrastructure and the user community will support new work flow designs, spawn highly distributed service based organizations, sustain innovation at the product level, and, perhaps most critically, give rise to new market structures that use price signals to facilitate more efficient behavior. The combination of the new products, services and related markets will lead to a significant transformation across the entire energy value chain. We close by presenting an example of intermittent-clean-generation and HEV-load-management synergies that can be realized in smart grid enabled markets.

About the Speaker

Michael Caramanis received his BS from Stanford University and MS and PhD from Harvard University. He served at the Greek National Energy council (1976-79) the MIT Energy Laboratory (1979-82) and was chair of the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy from February 2005 till recently. He has directed several research projects sponsored by NSF, EPRI, NYSERDA and the Industry, authored many journal articles and co-authored Spot Pricing of Electricity, Kluwer, 1988. He researches complex stochastic production systems and decision support in real-time electric power markets. He currently focuses on the Cyber-Physical-Energy-System/Smart Grid that (i) is open to developers and users to render it capable of supporting real-time market at the wholesale and retail levels, and (ii) enables load and distributed resource management to mitigate T&D and Ancillary Services congestion and realize synergies among market-ready sustainable energy technologies including wind generation, distributed storage, roof-top PV and Hybrid Electric Vehicles.