The 2014 Women in Clean Energy Symposium occurred on September 16-17. This year the theme was Urban Strategies for a New Energy Future.
Moderated by Elena Alschuler, Project Manager, Building Technologies, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, US Department of Energy
Jacquelyn Dadakis, Managing Director of GCE Services, Green Coast Enterprises
Stacy Richards, Founding Director, SEDA-Council of Governments’ Energy Resource Center (ERC)
Mary Barber, Director, New Jersey Clean Energy, Environmental Defense Fund
Joyce Ferris, Founder and Managing Partner, Blue Hill Partners LLC.
Moderated by C3E Ambassador Katherine Hamilton, Principal, 38 North Solutions
Alison Silverstein, President, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
Ann Berwick, Chair, Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (Slides)
Caroline Choi, Vice President, Integrated Planning and Environmental Affairs, Southern California Edison
Moderated by Susanne Rasmussen, Director of the Environmental and Transportation Planning Division, Cambridge Community Development Department
Sonia Hamel, Climate Protection Consultant (Slides)
Shelley Poticha, Director, Urban Solutions, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Slides)
Catherine Ross, Director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, Harry West Professor of City and Regional Planning, Deputy Director of the National Center for Transportation System Productivity and Management, Georgia Institute of Technology (Slides)
Presented to Susan F. Tierney, Managing Principal, Analysis Group by C3E Ambassador Mary Anne Sullivan, Partner and Practice Area Leader in the Energy Regulatory Practice, Hogan Lovells US LLP and C3E Ambassador Marilyn Brown, Professor, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology with remarks by Andrea Okie, Vice President, Analysis Group
Moderated by Linda Silverman, Lead for Workforce Development and Education, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Pratima Rangarajan, General Manager for Project Management & Strategic Marketing, General Electric, Energy Storage (Slides)
Barbara Burger, President, Chevron Technology Ventures (Slides)
Sarah White, Senior Associate, COWS, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Slides)
Education Leadership Award presented to Debra Rowe, Professor, Oakland Community College by C3E Ambassador Barbara Kates-Garnick, Interim Director of Energy, Climate and Innovation Program, Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Presented by C3E Ambassador Seth R. Weissman, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, SolarCity Corporation
Amy Glasmeier, Professor of Economic Geography and Regional Planning, MIT
C3E organizers invited students to enter into a research poster competition focused on clean energy policies, tools, or technologies that cities could be or are employing. Posters were presented at the symposium and guests voted to select three winners – two from the Policy Solutions category and one from the Technology Solutions category. Poster abstracts for the finalists are below and the winners are noted.
Two simultaneous trends are emerging: rapid urbanization and the increasing impacts of climate change. These trends present a growing need for urban transport decision-makers to take action to adapt to climate change and build climate-resilient infrastructure. As most are unaware of how to sensibly approach climate change adaptation, the following framework would be useful for decision-makers in adapting urban public transport to climate change.
This framework involves six steps, as well as best practices, illustrated by a case study on Mexico City which was built from in-country research and interviews with local climate change and transport experts. The steps include assessing climate effects, assessing vulnerabilities, identifying adaptation measures, selecting measures, implementing measures, and monitoring and evaluation. Each step was applied to Mexico City as a case study, to explore how these steps may be applied, specifically to the bus rapid transit (BRT) system. This mode of transport is a low-carbon, cost-effective solution for urban mobility and economic growth, and is spreading widely throughout cities in Mexico and other developing countries. Using BRT as an example allows the urban transport adaptation framework to be easily scalable in other cities, exemplifying sustainable urban development with resilient infrastructure which also mitigates greenhouse gas emissions.
The goal of the framework is to simplify the adaptation process of urban transport, granting decision-makers the ability to more easily take action to build resilient infrastructure in cities.
Presented by Ilana Ginsberg: Studying Economics and International Relations at Johns Hopkins SAIS
Cities promoting green building practices through multi-tiered certification programs and policies could benefit from improved economic, human, and natural environments. When builders certify green practices the benefits are two-fold: first, improved building performance optimizes energy and resource streams; and second, certification as part of a nonmarket strategy enhances reputation for corporate social responsibility, a competitive asset in today’s market.
This research uses data from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings across the US. Over time, competiting firms establish greener certifying buildings, suggesting a race to the top of green practices, enhanced through the tiered certification structure. The extent to which firms are willing to invest additional resources in order to attain higher degrees of certification, and in turn earn the ability to signal stakeholders, is also observed. The propensity to capture this signal becomes spatially clustered, indicating that the utility of green market signals increases with competition, despite some past results that indicate the value of certification decreases over time. Anecdotal evidence from LEED buildings across the United States confirm these trends, as neighboring firms attempt to “out-green” competition. Together, these three components provide robust evidence of competition in green development practices.
By leveraging green construction and building management practices to enhance profits, building owners also produce positive externalities, including reduced emissions, habitat preservation, and increased alternative transportation opportunities for employees, customers, and the surrounding community.
Presented by Mallory Flowers: Studying Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology
On June 2, the EPA announced the Carbon Rules, a set rules for carbon emissions by existing power plants. These rules include specific mitigation goals that each state must meet by 2030, which will reduce the country’s carbon emissions from power plants by 30%. Although there are specific goals for each state, it is the responsibility of state agencies such as the Department of Environmental Quality and the Public Service Commission to create State Implementation Plans. These plans will consider state specific resources and demands, in addition to unique strategies to mitigate carbon. State agencies may face a challenge in creating these plans due to the complex nature of power systems and the need for sophisticated modeling software. Using Michigan as a test bed, this project provides an innovative tool for agencies to use in crafting State Implementation Plans. This tool, SCRAPS, is a dynamic, open-access model that is based in Excel. SCRAPS was designed specifically for the Carbon Rules, using the EPA’s four mitigation building blocks as a guide. The model approaches mitigation from an economic perspective, it meets a reduction goal by minimizing the cost of mitigation projects. This approach reflects the economic impact of the proposal on states’ economies and ratepayers. Stakeholders can use SCRAPS to consider different design policies and implementation strategies, such as collaborating with other states, or modifying system assumptions and resource availability. The Carbon Rules are a precedent setting step in our country’s fight against climate change and SCRAPS is a crucial tool for states to use to reach their goals and move towards a more sustainable future.
Presented by Rachel Chalat: Studying Applied Economics and Science in Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan
In 2011, the transportation sector accounted for 28 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Americans travelled more than 8 billion miles per day in 2012 and this number is only expected to increase in the future. Decreasing diesel and gasoline vehicle usage and increasing electric and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle usage in North Carolina were studied as a strategy to reduce petroleum dependence and improve the air quality. This analysis will inform policy-makers in long-term energy and transportation infrastructure planning.
The capacity of renewable electricity (RE) and renewable natural gas (RNG) in North Carolina was calculated in gasoline gallon equivalents. The sources of RNG are derived from methane and were inventoried based on the 2013 permitted capacities of concentrated animal farm operations, wastewater treatment plants, and landfills. The energy capacities of solar, offshore wind, hydropower, and biomass were inventoried as RE.
The Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation tool was used to determine petroleum consumption, GHG, and air pollution emissions up to 2030 for three specific cases. Case one establishes a baseline by assuming that gasoline and diesel consumption increases per historical adoption rates. Case two maximizes the adoption of RNG by replacing gasoline and diesel heavy-duty vehicles (HDV) with CNG vehicles. Case three integrates RE in light-duty vehicles (LDV) based on gradual adoption rates of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Preliminary results indicate that RE resources are more than sufficient to replace gasoline in LDVs up to 2030. In contrast, existing resources of RNG in North Carolina are insufficient to replace gasoline and diesel in HDVs. Utilizing electricity in LDVs significantly reduces petroleum consumption, GHGs, and air pollutants at adoption rates of 50 percent or more. Using CNG in HDVs results in large reductions of petroleum and GHG emissions.
Presented by Marie Patane Curtis: Studying City and Regional Planning and Environmental Science at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
In the face of global climate change, the city of Atlanta, Georgia is facing many difficult decisions about how best develop new energy and water supply infrastructure for its expanding population. Distributed solar photovoltaics and rainwater harvesting are touted as two adaption strategies for decreasing grid vulnerability, increasing resilience, and fostering sustainable development. While these two infrastrucutre options have been analyzed seperately, to our knowledge, no study has examined the feedback effects of each technology option on the entire water-energy-climate system nor has a study attempted to analyze the impacts of integrating the two technology options. Furthermore, this is one of few studies to determine an adequate scale of projection for deployment in the urban setting. To analyze the impacts of distributed solar PV and rainwater harvesting, a specific integrated water- energy-climate-economic modeling tool was developed that can project the usage impact of each technology option on the entire grid system, according social costs and benefits, and overall resources impacts. The model is adapted to the Georgia electricity system and scaled to Atlanta’s water supply system. This model can be calibrated to evaluate a number of infrastructure trajectories as well as policy plans. Our model combines GIS land-use data, hourly load and consumption profiles, detailed information about solar insolation and precipitation rates, the health and welfare benefits of reduced pollution created by the AP2 model (Muller, Mendelsohn, & Nordhaus, 2011), capital and maintenance costs, degradation rates, water supply and electricity rates, withdrawal and consumption rates of water for electricity generation (scaled to technology source) as well as energy use rates for water supply. The model is used to analyze existing and possible policy scenarios. Our goal is to help policy-makers begin to understand the combined benefits of distributed supply options for energy and water in urban areas as well as determine a path for sustainable growth.
Presented by Caroline Burkhard Golin: Studying Public Policy and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology
This poster is based on a literature review about the prospective secondary uses of electric vehicle (EV) batteries and a market assessment for New York City.
Once batteries reach their end-of-life in an EV, they still have about 80% of their initial capacity, which could be used in energy storage applications. This would increase their total lifetime value, decrease the overall cost of energy storage for primary (automotive) and secondary (grid) customers, reduce environmental impacts, and increase the overall work of the device for the initial investments in capital, labor and energy.
While the battery selling price and value to the automotive owner depend on new battery costs and repurposing costs, research indicates that even under conservative estimates the value to the owner is small and will not influence EV uptake. On the other hand, peak shaving, as well as power quality and reliability applications are cost effective and attractive to secondary users.
These two applications are a good fit for New York City. In the first place, time-of-use electricity rates encourage the use of batteries to shift consumption to off-peak rates, allowing customers to reap benefits while reducing peak load. Second, the planned shutting down of the Indian Point nuclear plant in 2016 has led the government and the utility to put in place incentives to energy storage in order to assure power reliability. Finally, not only are New Yorkers willing to go green and to adopt the latest technologies, but also the massive power outages caused by hurricane Sandy will likely make them sensitive to energy storage options.
To encourage secondary uses, the government and the utility could a) extend energy storage incentives beyond 2016; b) invest in a refurbishment facility; c) recognize EV and energy storage early adopters; d) offer EV batteries leases, and collect and refurbish them upon their end of life. It is worthwhile noting that this technology is applicable to other cities and regions with similar regulations and profiles.
Presented by María Alegre: Studying Energy and Environment at Colombia University SIPA
Tidal streams are high-speed, horizontal sea currents associated with the tide. Hydrokinetic turbines can be utilized to generate electricity from these flows similar to wind turbines. It has been estimated there is upwards of 50 GW of available tidal power along the US coast (Defne et al 2010). However, this valuable resource will be vastly underutilized because much of the coastal United States, despite having substantial tidal currents, do not have environments that are deep and wide enough to accommodate the requirements of the current technology. In particular, in the US Southeast shallow estuaries with wetlands foster high velocity tidal currents. While the estuaries cannot provide utility scale power, they can provide supplemental power to small coastal communities. A small community considering tidal energy is the Girl Scouts of America’s (GSA) Eco-Village found on Rose Dhu Island, GA.
The purpose of this research is to characterize wetland hydrodynamics and assess the available tidal hydrokinetic energy surrounding Rose Dhu Island. A numerical model and measurements show the storage capacity of the wetlands dictates the timing and magnitude of currents, and the sinuous channel geometry dictates the migration of areas with high kinetic energy. For effective energy generation, currents must not only be strong but persistent. Using a numerical model and assuming a combined turbine size of 10m2, 45% device efficiency, and operating range above 0.5 m/s, it is estimated 5400 kWh could be provided yearly to the Eco-Village with little hydrodynamic disruption. A vertical axis turbine prototype was tested on-site. Turbine performance results will be used for modelling extraction and its environmental effects.
In addition to intellectual research, interactive seminars were held with local schools and GSA troops to teach young girls about clean energy and sustainable energy practices, and to invoke a general excitement in STEM fields.
Presented by Brittany Bruder: Studying Civil Engineering (Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Water Resources) at Georgia Institute of Technology
Forecasting of power load demand plays a significant role in the management and operation of the power grid. To compensate for the forecast errors and other power source failures, Independent System Operators (ISO) keep operating reserves that represent losses in the system at a financial burden to both utilities and rate-paying customers. However, the present grid is undergoing a very fast-paced change. With the increasing awareness about the adverse effects of conventional energy resources, policies are being developed to accelerate the utilization of renewable energy at ever higher penetration levels. The growth of solar power utilization has been staggering in the past decade: global solar capacity has increased from 1.76 GW to 102.15 GW over the past decade (2001-2012). Due to the stochastic nature of solar power, these increasing levels of solar penetration result in several planning and operational challenges. Therefore, net load forecasting i.e., the integration of demand load and renewable generation forecast techniques are needed to replace existing grid load management systems. The current state-of-the-art load forecast methodologies were reviewed and a novel ensemble re-forecasting technique was proposed. Proposed models showed consistent performance enhancements for various ISOs with improvements of up to 52% in terms of Mean Absolute Percentage error for hour-ahead and, 34% for day-ahead load forecasts. Also, the impact of an increasing solar penetration on load forecasts was studied. It was found that the load forecasting skill drops by 9% for the hour-ahead load forecast because of additional variability and uncertainty introduced by solar power. Analysis of the error distribution as a function of daily solar penetration for different levels of variability revealed that the solar power variability drives the forecast error magnitude whereas increasing penetration level has a much smaller contribution. Net load forecasting models for communities with centralized and distributed generation are under development for 15 minute to 48 hour forecast horizons.
Presented by Amanpreet Kaur: Studying Mechanical Engineering at University of California, San Diego
The rapid growth of cities calls for effective tools for the prediction of future trends in urban energy consumption, accounting for climate change and building-related interventions. This work presents a methodology for creating a calibrated energy model of an existing district and using it to analyze future development scenarios. The goal of the model is to allow planners to forecast with relative accuracy the effects of changing weather patterns and of various retrofits on a district’s energy consumption.
The MIT campus was used as the pilot study for developing the proposed methodology. An energy model of the 138-building campus was created using Rhinoceros for 3-D geometry and the Operational Energy Module in UMI (Urban Modeling Interface developed by the Sustainable Design Lab at MIT) as an interface to the EnergyPlus simulation engine. This process involved the following steps: (1) collection of building information from floor plans, construction drawings, building audits, and measured energy use; (2) detailed modeling of selected buildings with thermal zoning, used to create templates for buildings of different functions; (3) application of the templates to buildings of the same function and simulation using UMI’s Shoeboxer algorithm, which automates the thermal zoning process; (4) adjustments to templates and calibration of individual buildings to monthly energy measurements from 2012.
The baseline model was calibrated using 2012 Central Square weather station data. This weather file was morphed according to IPCC’s A2 climate change scenario prediction using the Climate Change World Weather File Generator (developed by the University of Southampton), creating weather files for 2020 and 2050. The calibrated model and weather files were then used to analyze (1) how much more energy the campus would consume in 2050 if no retrofits were performed, and (2) to what extent proposed retrofits would reduce campus energy consumption in order to enable future campus expansion on a net-zero carbon basis.
Presented by Julia Sokol: Studying Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and Aiko Nakano: Studying Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Numerical fluid flow and heat transfer simulations of a three-dimensional idealized urban environment are performed and diurnal cycles of surface temperatures and energy balance components are studied. Unsteady simulations forced with solar load and realistic wind and temperature profiles are done with the finite volume solver ANSYS/FLUENT 14.5. In comparison with previous studies, our model has the advantage of considering the realistic surface heating that is caused by solar insolation and inter-building shadowing effects. Additionally, this poster demonstrates the strong three-dimensional interaction between turbulent flow and thermal fields and the necessity of dynamic-coupling of these forcings in numerical simulations of the urban environments. Thermal effects of urban geometry, surface albedo, wind direction and speed are numerically investigated for a clear summer day in Southern California. To characterize the flow, steady-state weather forcing taken at each hour of the day is translated into two different Richardson numbers indicating vertical atmospheric instability and solar tilt, respectively. Ground surface albedo was found to have the most influence on the urban facade temperature. Replacing asphalt with concrete as ground material increased the daytime surface temperature up to 8 K (2.5%). Additionally, urban built-up density outweighs effects of wind speed and direction with respect to the ground temperature and energy balance.
Convective heat transfer, mean flow and turbulence statistics are also investigated as determinants for buildings and urban street ventilation. Air exchange rate (ACH) and Convective Heat Transfer Coefficients (CHTC) are used to characterize the ventilation performance. It is found that both parameters depend strongly on the orientation of the heated wall in relation to wind direction. For example, air exchange increases by surface heating and is larger when the leeward wall is heated. The distribution of CHTCs along the wall is also dependent on non-uniform wall heating intensity and orientation. This information is ultimately crucial in accurately predicting building energy demand and optimizing the placement of HVAC systems on exterior surfaces of buildings.
Presented by Negin Nazarian: Studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at University of California, San Diego