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Dr. Charles Sims Presents Seminar on Tuesday, July 10th

Dr. Charles Sims will present a seminar on Tuesday, July 10th at 1:00 pm in MHK 124. 

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

When: Tuesday, July 10th, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

Location: Min H. Kao Building, Room 124

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 University 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.