Invited Speakers

Virtual Inertia Emulation and Placement in Power Grids
Florian Dörfler
, Assistant Professor, Automatic Control Laboratory, ETH Zürich

A major transition in the operation of electric power grids is the replacement of bulk generation based on synchronous machines by distributed generation based on low-inertia power electronic sources. The accompanying “loss of rotational inertia” and the fluctuations by renewable sources jeopardize the system stability, as testified by the ever-growing number of frequency incidents. As a remedy, numerous studies demonstrate how virtual inertia can be emulated through various devices, but few of them address the question of “where” to place this inertia. It is however strongly believed that the placement of virtual inertia hugely impacts system efficiency, as demonstrated by recent case studies. We carry out a comprehensive analysis in an attempt to address the optimal inertia placement problem, considering a linear network-reduced power system model along with an H2 performance metric accounting for the network coherency. The optimal inertia placement problem turns out to be non-convex, yet we provide a set of closed-form global optimality results for particular problem instances as well as a computational approach resulting in locally optimal solutions. We illustrate our results with a three-region power grid case study and compare our locally optimal solution with different placement heuristics in terms of different performance metrics.

Florian Dörfler is an Assistant Professor at the Automatic Control Laboratory at ETH Zürich. He received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2013, and a Diplom degree in Engineering Cybernetics from the University of Stuttgart in 2008. From 2013 to 2014, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of California Los Angeles. His primary research interests are centered around distributed control, complex networks, and cyber–physical systems currently with applications in energy systems and smart grids. He is a recipient of the 2009 Regents Special International Fellowship, the 2011 Peter J. Frenkel Foundation Fellowship, the 2010 ACC Student Best Paper Award, the 2011 O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award, the 2012­2014 Automatica Best Paper Award, and the 2015 UCSB ME Best PhD thesis award. As a co­advisor and a co­author, he has been a finalist for the ECC 2013 Best Student Paper Award.

When Bits Meet Joules: A View from Data Center Operations' Perspective
Xue (Steve) Liu
, William Dawson Scholar and Associate Professor, School of Computer Science, McGill University

The past decade has witnessed the rapid advancement and great success of information technologies. At the same time, new energy technologies including the smart grid and renewables have gained significant momentum. Now we are in a unique position to enable the two technologies to work together and spark new innovations.

In this talk, we will use data centers as an example to illustrate the importance of the co-design of information technologies and new energy technologies. Specifically, we will focus on how to design cost-saving power management strategies for Internet data center operations. We will conclude the discussion with future work and directions.

Dr. Xue (Steve) Liu is a William Dawson Scholar and an Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science at McGill University. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science (with multiple distinctions) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has also worked as the Samuel R. Thompson Chaired Associate Professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and at HP Labs in Palo Alto, California. His research interests are in computing systems and communication networks, cyber-physical systems, and smart energy technologies. His research appeared in top venues including Mobicom, Infocom, ICNP, S&P (Oakland), RTSS, RTAS, ICCPS, WWW, KDD, ICDE etc, and received several best paper awards.

Dr. Liu's research has been reported by news media including the New York Times, IDG/Computer World, The Register, Business Insider, Huffington Post, CBC, NewScientist, MIT Technology Review's Blog etc. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Young Canadian Computer Science Researcher Prizes from the Canadian Association of Computer Science, and a recipient of the Tomlinson Scientist Award from McGill University.

He is serving or has served on the editorial boards of IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking (ToN), IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology (TVT), IEEE Transactions of Parallel and Distributed Systems (TPDS), and IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials (COMST).

The New Sharing Economy for the Grid2050
Kameshwar Poolla
, Cadence Distinguished Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley

The sharing economy. It is all the rage. Going on vacation? Rent out your home for extra income! Not using your car. Rent it out for extra income! Companies such as AirBnB and Uber have disrupted housing and transportation sectors. Their innovative business models are based on resource sharing that leverage underutilized infrastructure. They are enabled by peer-to-peer platforms that match eager sellers with willing buyers.

Are there compelling sharing economy opportunities in the electricity sector? What products can be shared in tomorrow's Smart Grid? Could consumers trade electricity via online matching markets? We explore three sharing economy opportunities in the electricity sector - sharing storage, sharing PV generation, and sharing recruited demand flexibility. We discuss regulatory and technical challenges to these opportunities. We conduct a micro-economic analysis of decisions by firms, and quantify the benefits of sharing to various participants.

Kameshwar Poolla is the Cadence Distinguished Professor at UC Berkeley in EECS and ME. His current research interests include many aspects of future energy systems including economics, security, and commercialization. He was the Founding Director of the IMPACT Center for Integrated Circuit manufacturing. Dr. Poolla co-founded OnWafer Technologies which was acquired by KLA-Tencor in 2007. Dr. Poolla has been awarded a 1988 NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the 1993 Hugo Schuck Best Paper Prize, the 1994 Donald P. Eckman Award, the 1998 Distinguished Teaching Award of the University of California, the 2005 and 2007 IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing Best Paper Prizes, and the 2009 IEEE CSS Transition to Practice Award.