Skip to main content

California Smart Grid Center Lecture Series

Event Date : September 16th, 2011

Read more

New technologies, tools and solutions are changing the landscape of energy grids globally and in California. More renewable power plants are feeding in at the high voltage transmission level. Most of the new ones cannot be dispatched by grid operators in traditional ways. To further challenge planners and operators, electricity grids designed for radial power flow out from the center are being used to collect electricity at the fringes, resulting in bi-directional power flow in distribution circuits. More power is feeding in from behind utility meters as “feed-in” tariffs and solar net metering tariffs are implemented and expanded. Most of the new sources behind the meter could not be dispatched even if tools and experience existed to make it possible. An increasing number of pilot and commercial projects around the US will help generate the necessary tools and experience to control and protect the more complex and dynamic local grids of the future.

One such project is on the UC Davis Campus. The (130 acre) first phase of this mixed housing and commercial development will combine advanced energy efficient design features with a high efficiency solar electricity system sized to meet all of the initial phase’s electricity needs. Already home to 800 students, it is being expanded to provide housing for 2,000 students, an education center of Sacramento City College for Los Rios Community College District, recreation and study facilities for residents, and a village square surrounded by neighborhood-serving retail. Over the next few years, 343 single-family homes will be built for sale to faculty and staff. Ultimately, the project will provide housing for more than 4,000 people. West Village experience will shed light and offer solutions to grid impacts utilities must accommodate as solar electricity capacity is interconnected with utility distribution circuits in larger amounts and in localized net zero configurations.

Mr. Gerald Braun, Renewable Integration Program Director with the University of California at Davis, leads projects focused on the integrating principles and technologies of sustainable 21st century energy systems. His team’s work is helping meet California’s aggressive goals for renewable energy deployment. Gerry’ comprehensive knowledge of energy markets and utilities and clean energy supply technologies is derived from decades of experience with leading firms and agencies such as Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Bechtel, BP Solar, Standard Solar, Southern California Edison Company, the US Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission. He has directed major US and California energy R&D programs and has also held senior executive, marketing and business development roles in global and local solar companies. He holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and completed US Navy professional training in nuclear engineering. He holds two advanced degrees in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

<< Back to Archive