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Open Access Publications from the University of California
Cover page of White Paper: The EcoBlock Project and the “Own Use” Exemption under Public Utilities Code Section 218 – A Way Forward for Privately Operated Microgrids

White Paper: The EcoBlock Project and the “Own Use” Exemption under Public Utilities Code Section 218 – A Way Forward for Privately Operated Microgrids

(2021)

The Oakland EcoBlock project (EcoBlock) seeks to develop a microgrid within an existing city block in Oakland California as a demonstration project on the viability of retrofitting an existing block of residential and commercial buildings into a microgrid capable of islanding from the grid. EcoBlock has considered a variety of different potential regulatory frameworks that might accommodate the objectives of the project. Based on an analysis of current law, the working model has been to rely upon existing provisions within the Public Utilities Code that recognize the right of individuals to install and operate electric equipment outside of Commission regulation if the generation, storage and distribution of power is limited to the owners’ “own use.” This white paper examines the “own use” exemption in section 218 of the Public Utilities Code and explores its potential as well as its limitations in the context of microgrids and recent Commission action. In so doing, it touches upon the recently issued Microgrid Proceeding Proposed Decision (Microgrid PD), the Commission Staff paper upon which the PD is premised and issues that arise out of both. This white paper, however, is not intended to be a critique of either and, rather, is intended to prompt questions and reflections on how the policy decisions made in these documents will foster or retard the development of projects like EcoBlock.

Cover page of Phasor-Based Control for Scalable Solar PV Integration

Phasor-Based Control for Scalable Solar PV Integration

(2021)

This project demonstrated that solar PV can be recruited to stabilize the grid, smooth out disturbances, manage power flows, and assist circuit switching operations. It developed a radically new, layered control framework for Distributed Energy Resources (DER) to act in response to real-time, measured conditions on their local distribution circuit, rather than waiting for a price signal to indicate preferred behavior. By enabling resources to act as good citizens on the electric grid, Phasor-Based Control (PBC) facilitates arbitrarily high solar penetration levels.

Cover page of Phasor-Based Assessment for Harmonic Sources in Distribution Networks

Phasor-Based Assessment for Harmonic Sources in Distribution Networks

(2020)

Phasor-based interdependencies of multiple harmonic sources, especially Distributed Energy Resources, on distribution networks are analyzed in this paper. A new index, Phasor Harmonic Index (IPH), is proposed by the authors. IPH considers both harmonic source magnitude and phase angle for different harmonic orders. Other commonly used harmonic indices are based solely on magnitude of waveforms. A very detailed model of a distribution network is used in the harmonic assessment. With the help of the detailed distribution network model, the phase couplings and the phase balancing impacts on harmonic propagation between three phases are investigated. Moreover, effects of harmonic source phase angle deviations are analyzed at both the customer side and the substation side. This paper investigates the importance of phase angles in harmonic assessment and how distribution netwo

Cover page of Open-Source, Open-Architecture SoftwarePlatform for Plug-InElectric Vehicle SmartCharging in California

Open-Source, Open-Architecture SoftwarePlatform for Plug-InElectric Vehicle SmartCharging in California

(2020)

This interdisciplinary eXtensible Building Operating System–Vehicles project focuses on controlling plug-in electric vehicle charging at residential and small commercial settings using a novel and flexible open-source, open-architecture charge communication and control platform. The platform provides smart charging functionalities and benefits to the utility, homes, and businesses.

This project investigates four important areas of vehicle-grid integration research, integrating technical as well as social and behavioral dimensions: smart charging user needs assessment, advanced load control platform development and testing, smart charging impacts, benefits to the power grid, and smart charging ratepayer benefits.

Cover page of EcoBlock: Grid Impacts, Scaling, and Resilience

EcoBlock: Grid Impacts, Scaling, and Resilience

(2017)

Widespread deployment of EcoBlocks has the potential to transform today's electricity system into one that is more resilient, flexible, efficient and sustainable. In this vision, the system will consist of self- su cient, renewable-powered, block-scale entities that can deliberately adjust their net power exchange and can optimize performance, maintain stability, support each other, or disconnect entirely from the grid as needed. This report is intended as an independent analysis of the potential relationships, both constructive and adverse, between EcoBlocks and the grid.

Cover page of An Assessment of PIER Electric Grid Research 2003-2014 White Paper

An Assessment of PIER Electric Grid Research 2003-2014 White Paper

(2015)

This white paper describes the circumstances in California around the turn of the 21st century that led the California Energy Commission (CEC) to direct additional Public Interest Energy Research funds to address critical electric grid issues, especially those arising from integrating high penetrations of variable renewable generation with the electric grid. It contains an assessment of the beneficial science and technology advances of the resultant portfolio of electric grid research projects administered under the direction of the CEC by a competitively selected contractor, the University of California’s California Institute for Energy and the Environment, from 2003-2014.

Cover page of Application of Advanced Early Warning Systems with Adaptive Protection

Application of Advanced Early Warning Systems with Adaptive Protection

(2015)

This project developed and field-tested two methods of Adaptive Protection systems utilizing synchrophasor data. One method detects conditions of system stress that can lead to unintended relay operation, and initiates a supervisory signal to modify relay response in real time to avoid false trips. The second method detects the possibility of false trips of impedance relays as stable system swings “encroach” on the relays’ impedance zones, and produces an early warning so that relay engineers can re-evaluate relay settings. In addition, real-time synchrophasor data produced by this project was used to develop advanced visualization techniques for display of synchrophasor data to utility operators and engineers.

Cover page of Diagnostic Applications for Micro-Synchrophasor Measurements

Diagnostic Applications for Micro-Synchrophasor Measurements

(2014)

This project developed and field-tested two methods of Adaptive Protection systems utilizing synchrophasor data. One method detects conditions of system stress that can lead to unintended relay operation, and initiates a supervisory signal to modify relay response in real time to avoid false trips. The second method detects the possibility of false trips of impedance relays as stable system swings “encroach” on the relays’ impedance zones, and produces an early warning so that relay engineers can re-evaluate relay settings. In addition, real-time synchrophasor data produced by this project was used to develop advanced visualization techniques for display of synchrophasor data to utility operators and engineers.

Cover page of Challenges to the Integration of Renewable Resources at High System Penetration

Challenges to the Integration of Renewable Resources at High System Penetration

(2014)

This white paper describes the circumstances in California around the turn of the 21st century that led the California Energy Commission (CEC) to direct additional Public Interest Energy Research funds to address critical electric grid issues, especially those arising from integrating high penetrations of variable renewable generation with the electric grid. It contains an assessment of the beneficial science and technology advances of the resultant portfolio of electric grid research projects administered under the direction of the CEC by a competitively selected contractor, the University of California’s California Institute for Energy and the Environment, from 2003-2014.

Cover page of Diagnostic Applications for Micro-Synchrophasor Measurements

Diagnostic Applications for Micro-Synchrophasor Measurements

(2014)

This report articulates and justifies the preliminary selection of diagnostic applications for data from micro-synchrophasors (µPMUs) in electric power distribution systems that will be further studied and developed within the scope of the three-year ARPA-e award titled Micro-synchrophasors for Distribution Systems.