How CAPER’s Research Program Works
CAPER sponsored research projects are developed and selected through an industry-university collaborative process. University researches and industry members meet together to discuss issues, challenges and needs for the future. A research solicitation is then circulated throughout the membership and teams of researchers, typically from two or more CAPER universities, develop proposals in conjunction with industry advisors. These proposals are reviewed and evaluated by industry members and recommendations for funding are made to the Center Steering Committee. At the Fall meeting of the Industry Advisory Board (IAB), presentations are made on the recommended proposals. The IAB then votes on its final slate of projects recommended for funding. The Center Director works with members of the Center Steering to make the final selections of projects to be awarded.
Industry members pay annual membership fees that support the base research program. Additional supplementary membership funds can be made available and applied to targeted projects that are consistent with CAPER’s mission and objectives. This type funding is often used to expand the scope of an existing project, fund a particular project that did not make the cut, extend an existing line of research and support field demonstrations or trial use of data by a particular CAPER member.
CAPER Research Themes
CAPER’s comprehensive research program spans Power Delivery Infrastructure and Systems, Power Utilization and Energy Efficiency, Power Generation, Storage and Integration, Data Management, Analytics and Security, Energy Policy, Markets and Economics.
Power Delivery Infrastructure and Systems
The electrical utility industry is experiencing major changes from its historical business structure of a vertically integrated utility to a combination of several different models. However, the basic function of the industry, to produce and to deliver power, safely and reliably, has not changed. The restructuring of the industry has created uncertainty that has contributed to limited investment and improvements in the infrastructure. Additionally, pressures continue to reduce the cost of the electricity.
This theme of research focuses on improving the performance of T&D systems by finding new applications for innovative technologies, integrating an increased penetration of distributed generation resources and desiring a resiliency to extreme weather impacts on the power delivery system.
Potential research topics include:
PMU data analytics
Power Utilization and Energy Efficiency
An important part of the overall national energy strategy addresses the efficient and productive end-use of electric energy. Smart distribution systems and advanced data analytics will be researched in this theme to meet increasing customer demands, high penetration of distributed renewable resources, and the emergence of retail electricity market.
Possible research ideas include:
Develop forecasting algorithms for residential and commercial loads and for distributed energy resources
Develop demand response algorithms (centralized, distributed, and autonomous control algorithms) for distribution energy management systems
Study pricing and rewarding schemes for enhancing consumer involvements and acceptance of different energy efficiency and demand side management programs
Develop distributed grid intelligence for providing a platform to implement the control, coordination and management of the grid resources at different levels
Power Generation, Storage and Integration
Carbon and other environmental legislation has placed much pressure on conventional means of generating electricity. Initial studies indicate that these developments will create additional challenges on current generation through increased cycling of existing generation, ramping of system dispatch, and additional requirements for regulation. New types of resources are anticipated to grow in their market size, including energy storage and price-responsive demand resources that are more flexible than traditional emergency response programs. New generation sources are being developed with a heavy emphasis on renewables such as PV and wind. However, these energy sources present many challenges to the reliability and operation of the power grid. The integration of large-scale storage with these renewable resources requires much research, development and demonstration. In this theme of research, optimal strategies to manage diverse distributed resources with integrated storage will be developed and demonstrated.
Possible research ideas include:
Advanced energy storage technology development
High performance computing for grid operations
Alternative generation resources
Scheduling and operation of variable generation resources
Data Management, Analytics and Security
New technologies and the wide-spread application of small-scale component sensors and data collection equipment have greatly increased the amounts of available data, but the challenge is how to manage, use and act on huge amounts of system data. Universities have played a major role in the development of foundation theories that have led the industry to new devices and systems in the past. This research focus area offers the opportunities to study the increasing amounts of available data and identify new phenomena that can lead to the development of new devices and operating practices. This theme of research will focus on innovative data mining, data management, decision-support and visualization approaches. In addition performance metrics and other measurement analytics will be developed. An increasing area of focus will be both the cyber and physical security of T&D assets.
Possible research ideas include:
Phasor, time and frequency paradigms
Security, reliability and adequacy criteria
Real-time security assessment, preventive and corrective control
Use of satellite technologies for innovative power system applications
Risk-based and cost-based analysis and design
Cyber-security, wide-area monitoring, control and real-time measurements
Empirical analysis focusing on interpretation of empirical data and on estimation and validation of theoretical models using econometric methods, financial engineering approaches, statistical analysis and data mining
Energy Policy, Markets and Economics
The electric power industry in the US and worldwide is undergoing a major transformation. It is changing from a vertically integrated industry in which generation, transmission and distribution systems are owned by single entities to dispersed ownership with separation of the generation and delivery functions. In this new structure, planning, scheduling and operations are being coordinated through markets. However most utilities in the southeast region of the US have stayed with the traditional structure of vertical integration of the generation and delivery of electric energy. While the southeast region needs to be aware of what is occurring in the industry, research into to renewable integration, planning and operations in the current structure must not be overlooked. Along with the rest of the industry, southeast utilities will be facing challenges of adapting to new state and federal regulatory requirements that address climate change and energy security. Requirements such as increasing the use of renewable energy to 20%, 33%, or more of total energy resources within the 2020 to 2030 timeframe, and reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 50-80% by 2050, will have profound implications for the electric utility industry as a whole.
Possible topics in this research theme include:
Dynamic performance of active distribution networks with high penetration of photovoltaic sources
Integration of stochastic sources and energy storage in microgrids
Energy storage and its market models
Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) set by politicians
Net-metering tariffs to accept energy from distributed sources in a way that is fair to all customers and does not subsidize those who install solar panels or other on-site generation
Putting a price on emissions of carbon in a cap-and-trade market
Research the pricing schemes for retail electricity market to provide incentives and sustainability for integrate distributed renewable resources, energy efficiency and demand response programs