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Dr. Charles Sims and Dr. Chien-fei Chen will present the SLC seminar on Friday, September 8th. The SLC Seminar happens every Friday from 12:20 pm to 1:10 pm unless otherwise noted. There will be pizza at the Friday seminars.

Presenters: Dr. Charles Sims and Dr. Chien-fei Chen

Time: Friday, September 8th, 12:20 PM - 1:10 PM EST

Location: Min Kao Building, Room 404

Dr. Charles Sims, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Tennessee

Title: Using Agent-based Computational Economics to understand the Evolution of the Electric Grid in response to Increased Penetration of Distributed Solar Generation

Abstract: This presentation summarizes recent research using agent-based computational economic modeling (ACE) in the electricity industry and illustrates how ACE can be used to investigate the dynamic response of a traditional electric grid in response to increased penetration of distributed solar generation. Using a hypothetical electric grid, the ACE model describes the dynamic behavior of four different economic agents. Submodules account for the wholesale electricity market and the decision to invest in a rooftop solar system by end-use electricity customers. These submodules are coupled in that retail electricity prices determine the costs associated with forgoing an investment in distributed solar generation while the decision to invest in distributed solar generation determines the load demand in the wholesale electricity market. While the results presented in this report are illustrative and not prescriptive, they do highlight a number of interesting trends. First, increased penetration of DG will have large impacts on dispatch at traditional generating units and locational marginal prices on the grid. The 55-66 percent reduction in retail customers we observe in our simulations will likely exacerbate recent coal plant retirements. Second, decreased load demand due to adoption of DG technologies will have a large impact on high-cost generating units in the system but may have little impact on nuclear plants that generate electricity at a relatively low cost. Third, transmission line constraints matter. Transmission line constraints imply that the marginal cost of serving customers will vary across the utility’s service area. This suggests that certain generating units and demand in certain LPCs will have a disproportional influence on the impacts of DG and the utility’s ability to respond to increased penetration of PV systems.

Bio: Dr. Sims is a Faculty Fellow at the Howard H. baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the Univeristy of Tennessee, Knoxville.  He has a Bachelor's and MS in Forestry from the University of Tennessee and a doctoral degree in Economics at the University of Wyoming.  His research interests center on environmental and natural resource economics with a specific emphasis on the role of risk and uncertainty in natural resource, environmental, and energy policy.  His past research has investigated issues related to invasive and endangered species, forest management, water, and green energy.

Dr. Chien-fei Chen, Research Professor and Director of Education and Diversity, CURENT, University of Tennessee

Title: Insights on Social Psychological and Contextual Factors Affecting Energy Behaviors and Conservations Intentions in Residential and Commercial Buildings

Abstract: The issues of energy consumption and occupant behaviors should not be an individualistic focus, assuming that people will control their behaviors and make rational choices. These complex issues extend to organizations and other social contexts as well. Beyond individuals’ demographic factors, social-psychological and contextual factors have been gradually considered as important variables in influencing occupants’ energy saving behaviors and public acceptance of renewable energy technologies (e.g., electrical vehicles, solar penal). However, what are the important social-psychological factors OB researchers should pay attention to? How can we measure some of the latent social variables in an appropriate way? This presentation will present the empirical findings regarding the social-psychological and demographic variables affecting energy saving behaviors in both commercial and residential settings. In addition, the influence of social-psychological factors on the U.S. residents’ public acceptance of smart meters and demand response programs will be presented. Importantly, this presentation will discuss several important social science theories in measuring energy saving behaviors and intentions.  

Bio: Dr. Chien-fei Chen, Ph.D. in Sociology, is a Research Professor and Director of Education & Diversity at NSF-DOE Engineering Research Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electrical Energy Transmission Networks (CURENT), Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the University of Tennessee. Her research focuses on social psychological analysis and interdisciplinary OB research (both at the individual, and group levels), occupant energy conservation behaviors, demand response and public acceptance of renewable energy technology.