Ohio State joins $2.44 million DOE electric efficiency initiative

Posted: May 28, 2020

The Ohio State University joined a new $2.44 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help utilities and wholesale electricity markets improve efficiency and reliability while reducing emissions and costs.

The Duke University-led initiative comes at a time of needed transformations to tackle climate change. The DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) accepted the team’s proposal, “A Grid that’s Risk-Aware for Clean Electricity (GRACE),” which taps the expertise of researchers from academia, industry and government.

Ohio State Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Professor Antonio Conejo said his team's role involves work in design.

“Our contributions pertain to two research and development areas, modeling of power systems and developing optimization tools for decision making in these systems," he said.

Conejo is a professor in ECE and Integrated Systems Engineering. He is an IEEE Fellow. 

Dalia Patiño-Echeverri, Gendell Family Associate Professor of Energy Systems and Public Policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, is leading the three-year project.

“Our goal is to make a meaningful and tangible contribution to the transformation of the U.S. electricity sector into a cleaner and more efficient system,” she said 

The GRACE team will design an energy system management (EMS) framework enabling U.S. electricity providers to better anticipate and manage uncertainty in the performance of conventional and renewable power generators in their systems. This will help improve the short-term operational efficiency systemwide and guarantee its reliability at the lowest possible environmental and economic cost.

“Operating under conditions of uncertainty places burdens on any business or enterprise. For electricity system operators, these burdens are compounded by a changing climate, uncertain demand and variable and unpredictable performance of conventional and renewable power generators,” Patiño-Echeverri said.

To help relieve some of these burdens, the GRACE framework will use specially developed algorithms allowing energy managers to characterize risk for assets within their systems – for instance, how and when weather conditions might affect solar or wind power generation, or when short-term spikes in consumer demand might require redirecting available power supplies, tapping reserves or bringing new resources on line.

The framework will reportedly be ready for integration into industry practice by summer 2023. 
Aside from Conejo at Ohio State, co-principal investigators on the GRACE team include David Brown, associate professor of business administration at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, Jordan Kern, assistant professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Assets at North Carolina State University; and Ali Daraeepour, a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment.

Other co-principal investigators are Pavel Etingov, staff research engineer at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL); Veronica Adetola, chief research scientist in the Electricity Infrastructure and Buildings Division at PNNL; Arnab Bhattacharya, operations research scientist at PNNL; and Hong Chen, senior consultant and project manager at PJM Interconnections LLC, and secretary of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Power & Energy Society’s Technical Council.

Eric Rohlfing, energy executive in residence at the Duke University Energy Initiative, will serve on the GRACE advisory committee, along with Jim Smith, Jack Byrne Distinguished Professor in Decision Science at Dartmouth College, Mark Oliver, manager of short-term planning at Duke Energy, and Charles Rossmann, forecasting and model development manager at Southern Company. 

Conejo has published over 165 papers in SCI journals and is the author or co-author of books published by Springer, John Wiley, McGraw-Hill and CRC. He has been the principal investigator of many research projects financed by public agencies and the power industry.