DATE: Wednesday, March 16th 2016
TIME: 4:00 – 5:30pm
LOCATION: 126 Barrows Hall
TITLE: Power System Simulation for Policymaking and Making Policymakers
ABSTRACT: George Box famously observed that “all models are wrong but some are useful”; power system simulations are a complex but useful kind of model that can provide researchers, policymakers and novices with insight into the increasingly important field of power grid design and operation. This talk will focus on the design and evaluation of Griddle, a video game built around a power system simulation and intended to help high school students learn about power grid fundamentals. I will describe Griddle’s gameplay, underlying simulation, and insights gleaned from classroom trials, with the goal of sharing “lessons learned” with those interested in the design of related tools and technologies. The talk will also touch upon my prior work using power system simulation to assess the impact of distributed solar power on the electrical distribution grid, and my current work developing software to model full energy system (not just power grid) decarbonization scenarios for nations and states.
BIOGRAPHY: Michael A. Cohen is a consultant to the U.S. Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) where he is helping to improve the robustness, performance and usability of energyPATHWAYS, software for comprehensive deep decarbonization modeling. His dissertation work has focused on applying software to the study of renewables integration and energy education. Michael will receive his PhD from ERG in 2016, earned his MS from ERG in 2012, and holds a BA in psychology from Brandeis University. Prior to matriculating at Berkeley, he worked as a business analyst at EnerNOC, a software engineer at a small startup in Providence, RI, and an educational computing specialist at Brown University.