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Dissertation Talk: The Role of Supply-Following Loads in Highly Renewable Electricity Grids

Presentation: Departmental | April 5 | 12-1 p.m. | Sutardja Dai Hall, 310 Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium

Jay Taneja, Computer Science Division, University of California, Berkeley

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS)

Driven by renewables portfolio standards and emissions limits, electrical grids are phasing in renewable electricity generation at an unprecedented rate, primarily displacing traditional fossil fuel-powered sources. Most electricity generation by renewables is non-dispatchable, meaning that it often fluctuates unpredictably and cannot be scheduled or shifted. This makes matching supply and demand to ensure electrical reliability a fundamentally new challenge as the proportion of renewable sources increases.

To overcome the challenges of fluctuating renewable generation, I study the use of supply-following electrical loads that are responsive to grid conditions such as energy availability or electricity price. This talk presents the design, implementation, and evaluation of three supply-following loads: a home heater, a refrigerator enhanced with thermal energy storage, and a heat pump for cooling a room or house. I assess to what extent these supply-following loads can improve supply and demand matching by using a model of the California electrical grid at different levels of renewables penetration. Using what remains after applying supply-following loads, I analyze the requirements for energy efficiency, demand flexibility, and seasonal energy storage to further improve the match in future, sustainable electricity grids.