Jan 2
2013

The Complete Master’s Thesis

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Here is the whole Master’s Thesis (170+ pages).

 

Brooks Taylor Master’s Thesis

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Jan 2
2013

The Masters Thesis Summary

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Here is a summary of my Master’s thesis for anyone interested in reading it.

 

Brooks Taylor -Thesis summary

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Feb 7
2012

Peak Load shifting is more dynamic than you think

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I am working on the peak load shifting portion of the model. I keep a 7 day running average of the peaks and valleys and when I get within a certain percentage of the valley, I load the storage (adding to the load). Likewise, when I get with in certain percentage of the peak, I pull from storage instead of the utility (lowering the peak).

There are a number of factors that affect the efficacy of the shifting; how much do I store?; how much do I withdraw from storage?; what are the thresholds?

There are going to be a number of ways to look at this problem when the cost of this storage is factored in. The control algorithm will be the key.

 

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Feb 1
2012

What are we going to do?

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I don’t think there is much doubt in the fact that we as humans are affecting the atmosphere with our fossil fuel combustion. There are no other explanations for the measured increases in CO2 in the atmosphere over the last 100 years or so. More and more evidence points to warming effects. The only question is whether we are going to try to live with it or whether that might be impossible without some changes to the way we live.

Are we willing to give up some things? Do we really expect the rest of the world to not have what we as Americans have enjoyed for decades?

On top of this climate question, there is also the question of ‘peak oil’ and the lousy state of our infrastructure? Even if we have enough oil and gas for a while, it will run out eventually especially with the growth in global demand. More and more generating plants and the transmission lines that bring the electricity to our cities are becoming overloaded or too old to run much longer. It now takes 8+ years to plan, permit, and build a new plant and no one seems to be thinking that far ahead right now.

Who is going to blink first? Congress? Right.

The utilities? Maybe, if we give them some incentive to do so? That incentive is the whole point of my thesis.

You and me? We certainly have not done anything like that in the past unless we actually had to; think WWII or the 1973 Oil Embargo. We are not very good at planning for the future. We want what we want right now; think the mortgage crisis or the whole idea of everyone living in giant homes and driving SUV’s. I’m just as guilty as anyone.

The scientists? It would be great if we had that breakthrough we have all been talking about for the past 40 years. Where is fusion? Why can’t we actually make clean coal? What’s so hard about Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)?

If the past is any indicator, we will have to make incremental improvements to the system. We better start somewhere soon!

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Feb 1
2012

Baseline model approved

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I demonstrated the base model to my test company contact and received positive feedback. I spent a few minutes reviewing system dynamics in general and then described the components of the baseline. My contact validated the dynamics and the basic results. My contact was intrigued by the ability to see so much information in one place that showed how the system works together.

I am hoping to have the load shifting and Time of Use policies working in the main working model soon. I think my test company will be very interested in the results it shows.

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Jan 25
2012

Load shifting in the model

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I have the Load Shifting behavior working in the model now. It will be used when Time of Use (TOU) rates are implemented. If people don’t have a method for actually shifting significant¬† loads, then TOU will not benefit them.

What I am seeing so far is that because the weather varies so much, a balance point between shifted load storage and cost will be the most important attribute. The data for a winter month in my initial test uses the shifted load correctly but actually runs out of capacity when it is most needed. What is happening is that during very low points in electricity consumption, the system adds to the utility load by storing energy. Then, during the peak demand periods, the stored energy is withdrawn so the load on the utility will be lowered. If there is not enough capacity, then during any long peak periods the storage gets used up.

My next step will be to adjust my determinations of peak and trough and add storage capacity to see if that eliminates the problem.

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Jan 16
2012

A big question

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There are so many variations from month to month and year to year in total energy costs and total charges to customers, it is difficult to be extremely accurate with the model. I understand that System Dynamics is all about behavior of the system but the utility industry will have to believe the behavior that is modeled in order to consider the policy changes.

I wonder what the expectations of the utility executives will be? Perhaps I will be able to get some reasonable feedback from my test company after I demonstrate the Baseline model.

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Jan 16
2012

Model Dynamics are very interesting

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I am trying to finish the baseline model to verify that I have the peak demand charge logic correct. Because I am trying to model just the residential loads, it is very interesting to see the effect of a small change in pricing on a month’s profits. I was using the system wide average price which included all customer classes (industrial, commercial, residential, a couple of special classes). Small changes to the sales price from using the residential average, make huge differences to the bottom line. I guess that is not surprising when the volume of the kwh is so large even for just one month.

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Jan 15
2012

The Thesis Proposal

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Thesis Proposal – Final

My Thesis committee has been very helpful in getting me to this point. This version is much improved from my starting point in January 2011. I am pretty sure I’ll never be a great academic writer though.

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Jan 15
2012

And so it begins…

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I’ve been thinking about and planning this thesis for more than a year. Now the time has come to actually get it done.

It is going to be a lot of work but I have the time to devote to it. As long as there are no surprises, I should be able to bring to a satisfactory conclusion in the allotted amount of time.

 

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