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The Supply Grid

Alexandra "Sascha" von Meier, Ph.D., California Institute for Energy and Environment, University of California
May 09, 2013 from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-700)
1130 K Street, Room LL3
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In view of climate change, the transition to a carbon-neutral electricity supply is imperative, but the way there is not easy: the integration of high levels of distributed and intermittent resources such as solar and wind power poses serious coordination challenges to the legacy electric grid. At the same time, we want our infrastructure to be robust and resilient with respect to natural or human-caused disruptions.

A key requirement for managing the evolving grid will be the ability to observe and control electric transmission and distribution systems, along with the many diverse resources connected to them, at higher resolution or granularity in both space and time. This talk will outline the critical challenges and solution approaches enabled by ongoing research and development, and conclude with a vision of a "supple grid" to support both flexibility and security of our electric infrastructure.

A_von_MeierDr. Alexandra “Sascha” von Meier is Co-Director for Electric Grid Research at the California Institute for Energy and Environment (, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley. She currently studies technical and operational issues related to the integration of high levels of renewable resources in “smart grids,” particularly through advanced instrumentation of power distribution circuits that increases their visibility to operators. Her past research has addressed engineering and cultural dimensions of energy technology, including electric power distribution, grid-connected photovoltaics, electric demand response, nuclear power plant operation, nuclear materials management, and green building performance. Her textbook, Electric Power Systems: A Conceptual Introduction (Wiley-IEEE, 2006), has been used in university courses and industry to help explain the complexities of operating the electric grid. An award-winning educator, she regularly presents tutorials on electric power delivery to academic and professional audiences. Sascha received her Ph.D. in energy and resources (1995) and her B.A. in physics (1986) from the University of California, Berkeley. Away from the office, she enjoys cycling, rock climbing and the mountains whenever possible.

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