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HURWITZ LECTURE 1: Selling Random Wind

California is committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 90 percent by 2050. Meeting this goal will require de-carbonizing electricity using renewables. Wind (and solar) power is inherently random, but we are used to 100 percent reliable electricity service. Converting random wind into reliable electricity is expensive. Reserve generation must be available to compensate for wind power shortfall, but this increases emissions, and surplus wind power leads to negative prices and reduces the margins of fossil-fuel plant operators.

We propose an alternative. Let us package random wind power into electricity with different levels of reliability and sell them at different prices. Such an electricity market will reduce subsidies, and it is more efficient than the current market. However, we have to think of electricity service differently.

A podcast of the lecture can be found on:

Type of Seminar:
Hurwitz Memorial Lectures
Prof. Pravin Varaiya
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley
May 24, 2012   16:15 - 17:15

HG E 5
Contact Person:

Prof. John Lygeros
No downloadable files available.
Biographical Sketch:
Pravin Varaiya is Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. From 1975 to 1992 he was also Professor of Economics. His current research interests include transportation networks and electric power systems.

His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Honorary Doctorates, the Field Medal and Bode Prize of the IEEE Control Systems Society, the Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award, and the Outstanding Research Award of the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society. He is a Fellow of IEEE, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science.