The Smart Grid Vision & SustainabilityJennie C. Stephens, Ph.D.Associate Professor of Environmental Science and PolicyDepartment of International Development, Community and EnvironmentA Smarter Grid and a Wiser CommunityDCU Center, Worcester, MAApril 24, 2013Transmission linesBeijing ChinaWorcester Green Jobs CoalitionHull Wind Turbine
Mechanisms for University’s to Contributeto SustainabilityTeachingTransdisciplinary courses/degrees teaching skills of integration, synthesis, andsystems thinking – how to cope with complex interconnections, service learningResearchFaculty and students conduct research that contributes to confrontingsustainability challengesCampus as a Model for SocietyCampus Operations, demonstrating role, the campus as a microcosm of societyService within the CommunityUnique anchor /intermediary organizationsAbility for long-term thinking, Convening RoleStephens, JC, et al. (2008). Higher Education as a Change Agent forSustainability in Different Cultures and Contexts. InternationalJournal of Sustainability in Higher Education 9 (3): 317-338
IncreasingCO2 concentrationsWorld Energy 1850-20000501001502002503003504004505001850 1875 1900 1925 1950 1975 2000YearEJ/yearGasOilCoalNuclearHydro +BiomassIncreasingglobal energydemandClimate Change Primarily an Energy Problem:Reliance on fossil-fuel based energy systemsAIM NASA 2012Holdren, 2006
Why are energy systems difficult to change?Social dynamics of energy technology innovationSocio-technical system changeWith graduate students atHull Wind TurbineWindMarris, 2008Smart GridGeothermalCarbon Neutral, 2013
Health/safetyCultural PoliticalTechnical EconomicEnvironmentalEnergyTechnologyDeploymentSPEED (Socio-Political Evaluation of Energy Deployment)A framework to assess the complexity of perspectives influencing energytechnology deployment: How is discourse of technologies framed?Environmental Communication ResearchHow are emerging energy technologies talked about? What frames?What factors influence perceptions of emerging energy technologies?
GenerationTransmissionDistributionConsumptionblackhillsenergy.comStorageSMART GRID: A Shared Vision of Electricity System ChangeIncreasingly used term - incorporates multiple technologiesInformation Communication Technology (ICT),Renewables, Energy Storage Technology, SensorsAdvanced Metering Infrastructure – Smart Metersand more……Smart GridA shared vision of change,but different priorities in- What technologies?- How much change ?
Source: FERC, 2012Smart Grid Research:How does social and political context for Smart Grid compare regionally?What are different priorities and can they be aligned?METHODSFocus GroupsInterviewsMedia AnalysisPolicy AnalysisFinancial Support: NSF Science, Technology & Society Program NSF-SES1127697NSF RAPID Grant Science, Technology & Society (NSF-SES 1316442)
How is “Smart Grid” presented in the media?NumberofNewspaperArticlesA20072009201219982002American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Different Smart Grid TechnologiesTechnologies Examples Transmission and Distribu/on power lines, transformers, voltage, AC, DC, relays, capacitors Smart meter Smart meter, advanced meter Energy Storage ba>eries, ﬂy wheels Sensors, informa/on and communica/on technologies sensors, soAware, hardware, SCADA Renewable genera/on wind, solar, photovoltaic Electric vehicles Prius, Tessla Consumer load appliances programmable dishwashers, air-‐condi/oning Consumer interface tools websites, apps, cellphone
How do different actors perceive and frame Smart Grid?Extensive Focus Group Data CollectionEach focus group 5-8 individuals from the same organization, 32 completedShaded boxes represent focus groups planned – not yet occurredMinnesota MISOTexas ERCOTMassachusetts ISO-‐NEIllinois MISOVermont ISO-‐NENew York NYISOLarge Utilities Xcel Oncor National Grid COM-‐EDGreen Mountain PowerNew York Power AuthorityMunicipal/Coop UtilitiesGreat River EnergyAustin Energy, College Station UtilitiesShrewsbury Electric & Cable OperationsEnergy Services Division U of ILBurlington Electric Long Island Light & PowerRegional Transmission Organizations MISO ERCOT ISO-‐NE MISO ISO-‐NE New York ISOState RegulatorsMN State Energy OfficeTX Public Utility Commission MA Dept. of Public Utilities IL Dept. of Commerce & Economic OpportunityVT Department of Public Service New York StateConsumer/NonprofitGreat Plains InstituteMass Energy Consumer Alliance Citizens Utility Board, Perfect Power InstituteVT Public Interest Research Group Techies/Academics UM EE StudentsTAMU engineer studentsWorcester Polytechnic Institute Illinois Institute of Technology U. of VT SUNYEnvironmental groupTheodore Roosevelt Conservation PartnershipConservation Law Foundation Illinois Sierra ClubVT Energy Investment CorporationEnvironmental Defense
Tension: Centralization vs. DecentralizationCentralized – Supergrid with LongDistance TransmissionMore centralized control,advantages of scaleDesertecDesertec - Eumena 2012Decentralized Local EnergySystemsMore local control, morecommunity connections,distributed powerSmart Grid Enterprise 2013
Different Perspectives on How MuchChange in the Smart Grid VisionRadicalChangeIncrementalChangeTechnological nirvanapotential to solve allenergy related problemsUpgrades, modernizationof current systemImproving status quo
Superstorm Sandy – Oct (28-30) 2012NASA GEOS-13 View, October 28, 2012 Cover page. Bloomberg Businessweek.November 1, 2012.$65.6 billion – estimated cost of devastation and disruption• Highlighted vulnerability of energy systems – our increasing reliance on electricity for basicneeds: communication, health, food, etc.• Reintroduced climate change into political discourse of the 2012 Presidential election –previously conspicuously absent• New awareness about energy infrastructure investments and climate change preparednessShift to include climate adaptation as well as climate mitigation
Smart Grid and Sustainability• Smart Grid an umbrella term – shared vision▫ Development influenced by different socio-politicalcontexts▫ Multiple technologies included in the vision• Key actors motivated by different priorities▫ Decentralization vs. centralization▫ Incremental vs radical change• Smart Grid has climate adaptation potential as wellas climate mitigation potential▫ Superstorm Sandy highlighted our vulnerability anddependence on electricity systems
AcknowledgementsTarla Rai PetersonTexas A&MElizabeth WilsonU of MinnesotaThanks to many who havecontributed and participatedFinancial SupportNSF Grant Science, Technology and SocietyProgram (NSF-SES 1127697)NSF RAPID Grant Science, Technology & Society(NSF-SES 1316442)Logistical SupportPamela Dunkle & Marsh InstituteClark UniversityResearch CollaboratorsResearch TeamRia LangheimES&P MS ‘13Xiao ChenES&P MS ‘13Ryan CollinsES&P MS/MBA ‘15Will MaxwellEcon/ES&P BA ‘15Melissa SkubelES&P BA’13ES&P MS ‘14Sophia Ran WangES&P MS ‘13James MeadowcroftCarletonAndrea ParkerSUNY-ESFLauren ZeimmerES BA’13ES&P MS ‘14
Landscape for work in sustainability is changingConventional rules, normsand relationships amongactors may no longer bepractical.Working together amongkey actors essential –trying to understand eachother’s priorities Photo courtesy of Didac FerrarPublications available upon requestEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite: http://wordpress.clarku.edu/jstephens/