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 Are renewable energies really free?
An important driving force of my research is to better understand uncertainties: how to rigorously quantify all kinds of costs associated with uncertainties? The introduction of flexible ramping products extends a great opportunity for such understanding. These products are designed to cope with large short-term variations brought by the renewables. But, they are not free: incorporating these products into the real-time market distorts the optimal energy dispatch, comparing with the optimal energy dispatch without such products. The distortion may impose additional cost, which is termed as the distortion cost. Using parametric analyses, together with Professors Soummya Kar and Gabriela Hug, I established the relationship between the distortion cost and the key parameters of the new products, i.e., the up and down flexible ramping requirements [1]. Since different combinations of these two parameters may meet the same pre-defined system reliability requirement, it is possible to optimize the combination by minimizing the distortion cost. However, solving this single optimization problem requires solving a family of optimization problems with a range of parameters, which is computationally inefficient. In contrast, our parametric analyses yielded a novel routine to efficiently perform this optimization. We believe our approach can assist the system operators with utilizing the ramping capacities in the system at the minimal distortion cost.

In the future, I plan to broaden the scope of this study to design a new market for uncertainties. By doing so, the treatment of uncertainties can be decoupled from the wholesale market. To achieve this goal, I would like to compare this new market to the stock market, where uncertainties also play an important role. The emergence of this new market will encourage more industrial and financial innovations as well as academic research interests. This will ultimately benefit the whole power system including all the consumers.
Related Publications:
1. Chenye WuGabriela Hug, Soummya Kar, A Functional Approach to Assessing Flexible Ramping Product’s Impact on Electricity Market, accepted by IEEE PES-ISGT 2015.
2.  Chenye Wu, Gabriela Hug, Soummya Kar, Minimal Distortion Cost Energy Dispatch for Electricity Markets with Flexible Ramping Products, under 2nd round review at IEEE Trans. on Power Systems. Initial Submission: Oct. 2014. [arXiv]