Overview

Start Date: May 1, 2016
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End Date: April 30, 2021 (Estimated)

Effective integration of large amounts of renewable energy into the grid is of utmost importance for sustainable future and greener smart cities. Due to the unpredictable variations in weather, over 80% of the available renewable energy from solar and wind sources cannot be harnessed effectively. Large scale and cost-effective integration of photovoltaic energy into the smart grid is challenging due to: (a) unpredictability and intermittency of weather pattern, (b) fast morning ramp up and afternoon ramp down of solar generation that triggers instabilities in the grid, (c) unavailability of solar generation at sun down requiring the need for locational energy storage facilities, and (d) lack of technologies for efficient and intelligent on-demand sharing of solar generation with conventional power generation in the grid. Current technologies of solar integration are based on unreliable weather prediction and ineffective load sharing that make the overall grid performance unreliable and inefficient, thus necessitating the need for a broader outlook of the whole picture.

This research brings a holistic vision of the future smart grid as a synergistic integration of its various components with novel computational tools for forecasting and intelligent load sharing with distributed energy storage. The study collects real-time Photovoltaic (PV) data from the plant, conducts high-end modeling, analysis and visualization on various datasets to understand, predict and mitigate the system instabilities and fluctuations triggered by PV intermittencies. This solution can be used in the planning process at the command and control centers for electric utilities.

The developed approach, which is an adaptive, resilient, efficient and effective integration of renewables, will be applicable broadly in the energy sector thereby reducing carbon footprint and making the system stable under expected high penetration of renewable sources and unanticipated intermittencies. This solution fills the gap that will help our nation steer closer to the ultimate goal of a sustainable future involving a smart clean power grid. This project will pursue several outreach activities to engage with students from underrepresented groups.

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