Electrical Grid Integration with Renewable Energy Sources (video)

Purpose:
Develop tools for integrating renewable sources of electricity into the national power grid
Funding:
$399,973, National Science Foundation
Jobs:
two (one full-time graduate student, one part-time faculty member)

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources requires more than a shift in generating technologies. It will mean a change in how the electricity grid is managed hour-by-hour.

Renewable sources such as wind and solar are more variable than the fossil-fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric stations that currently provide the bulk of our power. OSU engineer Ted Brekken leads this study to analyze variability in electricity generation by renewables. His research team will evaluate the interaction of those sources with the grid and identify ways to solve problems that may interfere with the use of such power.

The challenges of integrating renewable sources with the power grid are not well understood at present. Students working on this problem will develop skills that will be in demand by utilities and other employers as the nation reduces carbon emissions by making the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. In addition to the research, Brekken and his team will conduct free short courses and workshops to communicate their results.

Watch Ted Brekken explain the need for a new approach to smoothing out the peaks and valleys in renewable energy production.

See ARRA projects funded in Oregon by the National Science Foundation.