Smart Traction Systems for Weak Power Grids

Power lines hang from a pylon tower at sunset
Project Type
April 2017
Research Themes

We propose a new interdisciplinary research partnership involving power systems engineering and economics to investigate the mechanisms by which carbon-free generation resources can provide stabilizing inertia to otherwise weak power grids, and the market models needed to incentivize the provision of heretofore unpriced inertia services. The process of quantifying a requirement for system inertial response and constructing an economic mechanism for power grid operators to procure those response resources has not been addressed in any integrated way in the power systems literature or in industrial practice. To build an integrated research team capable of addressing this challenge for future power grids, we seek funding to hire a graduate research assistant that can assemble comprehensive background literature, and organize a small industry-university workshop that will culminate in a larger research proposal (or series of proposals) focused on the development of mechanisms to plan for and procure inertial response needs; appropriate pricing models for inertial services; and interaction with standards-setting bodies to explore inertial response requirements to maintain power grids that are both highly reliable and low-carbon. 

Resulting Funding

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Examining the role and governance of regional transmission organizations that manage the electric power grid in the United States, $1,193,927, PROGRAM Research, SUB-PROGRAM Energy and Environment


In the News