Power System Planning in Disparate Systems: Modeling Sustainability and Electricity Access

Monday, February 24, 2020
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Van Munching Hall 1107
Shannon Kennedy
301 405 9892

Space is limited, please RSVP. A light lunch will be served. 

About the event: Electricity goals around the world tend to focus on increasing social benefit through one of two things: (1) increasing overall system sustainability or (2) increasing access to electricity. In pursuit of these goals decision makers will need modeling tools that can inform decisions, in a way that is flexible enough to include a wide range of preferences and goals. It is clear that the future generation mix of the power system will change, but the most sustainable solution will change based on a country's goals.

This talk will explore various options for power grid expansion in both developed and developing countries. I present two papers that focus on approaches to power system planning that help decision makers reach their energy targets. The first part is focused on evaluating the sustainability of a set of generation portfolios. We take a multi-model approach, first determining the reliability of the system overall, then evaluating different generation portfolios based on seven sustainability criteria. The second part focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and energy access in developing countries. We have developed a utility maximization framework that incorporates stakeholder equity preferences into an electricity planning model. This can be used by decision makers to determine the best method of grid expansion to meet electricity access goals subject to system and budget constraints.

About the speaker: Dr. Destenie Nock is an Adjunct Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE), and a Presidential Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) at Carnegie Mellon University. She will begin as an Assistant Professor of EPP and CEE in Fall 2020. She joins CMU having received her Ph.D. in 2019 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. There, she performed energy systems modeling and analysis in both New England and Sub-Saharan Africa, using multi-criteria decision analysis and applied optimization to better equip policy makers to understand energy planning options. In her previous work she assessed the sustainability of different future scenarios for electricity generation in the New England region.

Nock built models that analyzed how changes in the power plants used to supply energy would impact the job creation, environmental health and economic viability of various communities. Using these techniques, she was able to identify the trade-offs between different future electricity scenarios in terms of their sustainability for the region. She applied a similar systems approach to Sub-Saharan Africa by developing an electricity planning tool, which incorporated stakeholder preferences for equality and makes recommendations for national electrification planning. Nock’s broad research interests are focused around using mathematical modeling tools to address societal problems related to sustainability planning, energy policy, equity, and engineering for social good. She brings to CMU a breadth of professional experience, having worked in industry, national labs, and government settings on issues related to energy systems.

Audience: Campus 

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