University of California, Davis

To quantify existing and pending distribution system impacts of high levels of penetration of distributed energy resources and loads

  • Amount $412,564
  • City Davis, CA
  • Investigator James Bushnell
  • Year 2017
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Energy and Environment

This grant funds a collaboration between University of California, Davis energy economists James Bushnell and David Rapson and distribution systems engineer, Duncan Callaway of the University of California at Berkeley. The group plans to study how the rise of distributed energy resources (DERs) like rooftop solar panels and electric vehicles impact power quality and distribution system performance in California. Working with utilities (such as Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric Company) and state government regulators (including the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Air Resources Board), Bushnell and his colleagues will collect and combine data on solar photovoltaic installations and electric vehicle registrations and then map them to individual circuits in the California electricity distribution grid. This will allow the team to analyze in fine-grained detail how increases in solar photovoltaic installations and electric vehicles are likely to strain elements of the California electricity distribution system. The team will then investigate how the performance of distribution systems maps to various socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of California residents.

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