Our research explores, assesses, and proposes technological, policy, and market approaches to contribute to the societal goal of striking a balance between environmental sustainability, affordability, and reliability in electricity systems.
In 2020 we began working on the GRACE project to better consider uncertainty and risk in short-term operations of power systems.
In general, our research contributes to advancing the understanding of:
- Uncertainty that increases the financial and reliability risk of power sytems and alternatives to better cope with this challenge and reduce environmental impacts.
- The effects of different electric power technologies and the possibilities and advantages of designing flexible policy mechanisms that take into account the decision making process and real options valued by those regulated.
- The economic, environmental, and reliability potential of renewable energy, storage, and emissions control technologies –– particularly related to their operational flexibility (e.g. use of different fuels, varying of power output levels), the uncertainty that affects their outcomes, and the implications for the systems where they are integrated.
- The life-cycle, global, and human dimensions of the energy and food sustainability challenge.
Decisions about investments in energy infrastructure and the policies affecting them are hard because these investments have:
- Large capital costs.
- A lifetime that spans many decades.
- Multiple alternatives.
- Uncertain long-term environmental, economic, and reliability outcomes.
- They create path dependencies, such that decisions made today have a profound impact on future choices.
The work of our lab aims at contributing to the building blocks necessary for this analysis with a particular emphasis on uncertainty characterization and the value of flexibility to embrace it. It focuses on the decisions that policy makers, private companies, and citizens face regarding capital investments and operations of electricity infrastructure, and in the methods available to analyze and improve these decisions.