EPICenter Summer 2017 RFP Appendix

Appendix A - Background Information on Directed EPICenter Studies

As noted, the center is currently focusing on two primary means to achieve its objectives:
(1) Directed funding of studies, on topics identified from an advisory council and center leadership;
(2) Open calls for proposals (this RFP).

This Appendix provides a brief description of current, on-going activities in category 1. Please note that these projects are evolving and may be subject to change; they are provided here for reference only.

1. Industrial Data
Investigating Availability and Potential Uses in the Southeast, Phase I

Background and Motivation: This study is focused on exploring industrial big data – opportunities, challenges, and threats. The increased analysis and utilization of data promise to unlock opportunities over the next decade such as reductions in environmental impact, reduction in costs, and increases in the reliability and security of energy infrastructure. Moreover, business models within industrial sectors are undergoing dramatic change as the profit and growth expectations among physical assets, operations, and services will continue to evolve. Data-driven approaches are increasingly valuable, but the promise of big data, machine learning, and data analytics –is predicated on access to data.  Issues over data ownership, privacy, and cybersecurity are major threats to realizing these benefits. There is a critical need to better understand the opportunities in view of the key threats and risks.

This issue is of particular interest for EPICenter because the Southeast has one of the largest global concentration of corporate facilities that are aggregating, analyzing, and remotely monitoring/controlling major energy infrastructure. These global centers of data aggregation and analysis suggest that the Southeast may be unique and differentiating in this emerging area.

Further understanding and discourse of these issues with companies, regional policy makers, and economic development leaders hold possibilities for regional economic development. It will also characterize the national and global distinctiveness of the region, and contribute to the build out of a knowledge economy ecosystem.

Scope, objectives and key elements:

1. Framing: Industrial Data operating definitions and phase 1 scope
2. Industrial data assessment
3. Concerns/challenges
4. Business Models and Uses of industrial data
5. Policy Implications and Recommendations
6. Southeastern economic development recommendations

2. Energy Storage:
General Assessment and Use Case Review of Options in the Southeast, Phase I

Background and Motivation: The electricity matrix in the southeastern U.S. is diverse, affordable, and increasingly low carbon. A significant regional differentiator is the presence of large, vertically integrated and regulated utilities. These realities are to a great extent the result of sufficient scale as well as methodical, strategic and longer term energy planning. Nonetheless, risks to the status quo include energy commodity price volatility, cyber and physical security of the energy infrastructure and the electric power grid, supply interruptions due to unforeseen manmade or natural events, environmental impacts of energy production and consumption including the combustion of fossil fuels, and geopolitical uncertainty. The increasing awareness and severity of these major risks have spawned substantial technological innovation in energy storage technologies. Thus, key benefits and motivating factors for augmenting electricity generation at the grid-scale with energy storage assets include:
• Increased reliability
• Increased resilience
• Improved integration of lower carbon energy sources such as intermittent renewables
• Reduced costs (fixed, variable, arbitrage, etc.)

Unfortunately, several barriers to widespread implementation of energy storage assets also exist. These include unproven technologies at scale, suboptimal alignment of technologies with specific applications (such as optimum time to dispatch, duration and frequency of dispatch, and reserve capacity), excessive capital or operating costs, under-utilization of other fixed assets, or mismatch of technologies within a given regional economic/regulatory context. More focused data is needed to inform future actions in view of the particular opportunities and challenges associated with energy storage in the SE region.

Scope, objectives and key elements. This “pilot-study” will perform a review and help frame the benefits and options for energy storage in the Southeastern United States. Objectives and steps include:

1. Review of motivation, primary use cases, and benefits, including techno-economic and policy tools
2. Identification and Characterization of Energy Storage Assets in the SE region
3. Development of an initial database of potential energy storage technologies for the region
4. Benchmarking of other assets, controls, or techniques that can deliver similar functionality to overall system performance in conjunction (or competition) with energy storage technologies.
5. Policy Implications and Recommendations
6. Southeastern economic development recommendations
7. Possible future objectives (phase II), including the foundation for future policy and innovation research.
3. Energy 101 Educational Modules:
A Regional Energy Literacy and Outreach Tool

Background and Motivation: This project will provide targeted new content for the existing Energy 101 Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), developed by SEI. Initially launched in 2012, the course provides a big picture perspective on energy systems, resources, economics, policy, and technology fundamentals to a general audience. To date, more than 14,000 learners have accessed its content, with more than 1,000 completing the entire 40 lesson curriculum.

New material will be produced with a specific focus on the Southeast Region in terms of the current and future energy resource mix with a particular focus on the region’s resource diversity, as well as regional CO2 and emissions trends. Demand characteristics of the region’s energy sector will also be included, and touch on major demand sectors (including electricity consumption and transportation). Additional content will introduce the socio-environmental impacts of using various forms of energy and estimated social costs of energy externalities, a review of benefits/costs/risks associated with the region’s energy options, efficiency considerations, and the region’s outlook for long-term energy planning.

Scope, objectives and key elements. The deliverables include a series of web-based video seminars, supporting resources and regional energy awareness outreach campaigns. Course content and modules include:

1.    Overview module: Aims and scope of this mini-MOOC
2.    Module on electricity generation in the SE
3.    Module on energy demand in the SE
4.    Technology showcase (notable research, and demonstration projects in the region)
5.    Socio-environmental impacts
6.    Energy economics (electricity prices, costs to add new supply)
7.    State and local energy regulations and policies
8.    Energy planning and outlook
9.    Key regional resources

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