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PhD Thesis Defense: Steffi Olesi Muhanji



2:00pm - 3:00pm ET


For info on how to attend this videoconference, please email

"Enhancing the Electric Power Enterprise Control System for Future Electricity Market Design"


The electric power grid is undergoing rapid decarbonization due to growing concerns about climate change. This has resulted in widespread adoption of variable renewable energy resources (VREs) such as solar and wind throughout the electricity supply and distribution value chain. VREs, however, present significant technical, economic and regulatory challenges that must be addressed in order to ensure sustainable and resilient operation of the electricity grid. This dissertation explores current challenges facing power systems operations and provides three directions for enhancing the design of future electricity markets: 1) activating demand-side resources, 2) engaging interdependent energy infrastructures such as the energy-water-nexus, and 3) developing distributed transactive energy control solutions for the distribution grid.

This work draws on lessons learned from renewable energy studies to illustrate the fundamental limits to VRE integration in current power systems operations. Specifically, it shows that in the absence of complementary demand-side initiatives, the electric power system develops a notable dependence on curtailment of VREs as a control lever. The work then develops a holistic enterprise control methodology that combines the challenge of renewable energy integration with that of the energy-water-nexus. With this methodology, it demonstrates that the much-needed ancillary services could be served through flexible operation of pre-existing energy-water resources with significant improvements in balancing performance, and reductions in CO2 emissions, water withdrawals and consumption, and electricity production costs. Finally, it presents a distributed control methodology for the economic control of the electricity distribution system and highlights a transactive energy application case study of this methodology for the City of Lebanon, NH.

Overall, these initiatives increase the operational flexibility of electricity markets and allow for greater penetration of VREs in the electricity grid.

Thesis Committee

  • Amro M. Farid, PhD (Chair)
  • Geoffrey Parker, PhD
  • Eugene Santos, PhD
  • Sara Mullen-Trento, PhD


For more information, contact Daryl Laware at