SmartGrid Seminar

Can modeling help achieve the goal of a low-cost, low-carbon economy in the US and abroad?
Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
Y2E2 300
Dr. Christopher Clack (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Abstract / Description: 

Global CO2 levels have pierced the 400ppm threshold in 2015. As CO2 levels continue to rise human civilization will face increasing penalties. In fact, even at today's levels the globe is undergoing changes at an unprecedented rate. The electric and energy sectors are gigantic emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and are an obvious target to reduce these GHGs. The main driver of emission reduction in the near future will be a transition of electricity from coal to a combination of wind, solar and natural gas. With these intermittent resources, can the grid be effective? To what extent do we know how the grid will operate with large amounts of variable generations? Are there steps we can take to better understand our options to reduce GHGs? The National Energy with Weather System (NEWS) Simulator was designed around incorporating high resolution (both spatially and temporally) of generators, transmission, weather and demand. The weather data is provided by NOAA and processed to give estimate of power for different technologies. With the NEWS simulator different scenarios can be performed to answer a wide variety of questions. In addition, it can be used to produce plans for expansion of the transmission and generators on the electric grid for utilities and ISOs. The NEWS simulator can also be run in dispatch mode to determine the most cost effective utilization of existing infrastructure in a market format. The present seminar will present details of the NEWS simulator, including the background to major concepts and details of datasets included. The seminar will also show results from several studies carried out within the NEWS framework to answer different questions and determine the robustness and sensitivity of the model.


Dr. Clack is a research scientist for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder working with the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) NOAA. Dr. Clack received his first class BSc (Hons) in mathematics and statistics for the University of Manchester in the UK. He then went on to research applied mathematics and plasma physics at the University of Sheffield in the UK. During his PhD, Dr. Clack completed an area of study centered on nonlinear resonance theory within the framework of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) that remained unsolved for twenty years. He then started work at CIRES for NOAA, and several years later the NEWS simulator was created. He now leads the development of the NEWS simulator and all its associated components. In the process of developing the model, Dr. Clack has assisted in improvements of NWP through insights into the model outputs used for the NEWS simulator.