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Highlight Seminar Series: Willett Kempton, University of Delaware

Date: 20131111

Time: 4:30 p.m. -

Location: Computer Science 104

Professor Willett Kempton, of the University of Delaware, presents “Running Society on Variable Generation: How Can We Optimize for High Reliability and Least Cost?” as part of the Andlinger Center’s 2013-2014 Highlight Seminar Series.

How much variable generation (wind, solar, and other varying electric generation) can be incorporated into the electrical system without unacceptable loss of reliability or excessive cost? How much storage is required to operate variable generation at high penetration levels? To answer these questions, we developed a model that tested many different combinations of variable generation and storage, under constraints of reliability, and picked the combinations resulting in lowest cost of electricity. From billions of model electrical system combinations, we learn possible futures for very low carbon systems that provide high reliability at moderate cost. The region modeled is PJM Interconnection, with three types of variable generation–solar, inland wind, and offshore wind. One storage system modeled, electric cars with ability to both charge and discharge, was the lowest cost and will be described in more detail.

Willett Kempton is Research Director, Center for Carbon-free Power Integration; Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment; and Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering – University of Delaware. Kempton leads several research teams working on electric vehicles, offshore wind power, and integration of variable generation into the electric power system. Dr. Kempton invented the technology for grid-integrated vehicles (GIV) with vehicle-to-grid power (V2G). This technology, now being commercialized, provides low-cost storage for the electric power grid, making it able to absorb more renewable energy. Kempton conducts research into offshore wind power, including resource size, new turbine and foundation technologies, public support, and planning transmission across weather systems to level wind power. Many of these projects are conducted jointly with industrial partners.

Kempton has held research or teaching positions at Princeton University, Michigan State University, and the University of California campuses at Berkeley and Irvine, prior to joining the faculty at the University of Delaware in 1992. During Fall 2011 he was Otto Mønsted Gœst Professor, Center for Electric Power and Energy, Department of Electrical Engineering (DTU-Elektro), Danish Technical University.