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Journal Paper Accepted at Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews – Job Creation Potentials and Skill Requirements in PV, CSP, Wind, Water-to-Energy and Energy Efficiency Value Chains

The LIINES is pleased to announce the publication of the journal paper entitled: “Job Creation Potentials and Skill Requirements in PV, CSP, Wind, Water-to-Energy and Energy Efficiency Value Chains” to the journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. This paper was authored by T. M. Sooriyaarachchi, I-Tsung Tsai, Sameh El Khatib, Amro M. Farid and Toufic Mezher.

Job creation is a significant outcome of the development and deployment of renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) technologies. With the complicated dynamics related to job creation in RE and EE technologies, this paper considers direct, indirect as well as induced employment opportunities resulting from various sustainable energy sectors.

This paper explores the factors affecting job creation, existing techniques for establishing the job creation potentials, and the required skill sets in the sustainable energy sectors namely; solar PV power, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), wind power, waste-to-energy, and energy efficiency measures. In addition, it provides case studies showcasing the variation of job creation in Germany, Spain, the United States, and the Middle Eastern region.

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Figure 1: This figure represents available jobs within various renewable energy sectors. The figure was prepared by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for the Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2015 IRENA Policy Day 9 June, 2015. Note that Solar Photovoltaic is the leading employer in the renewable energy sector.

For the RE sector, the study shows that available jobs and required skill sets heavily rely on the technology value chains of the specific industry. A further breakdown of the value chains allows for categorization of these jobs on account of their stability and permanency. On the other hand, jobs within the EE sector fall within educational awareness programs, energy efficient policies and regulations, and energy efficiency retrofitting which includes conducting energy audits and re-designing buildings to apply the necessary energy efficient measures.

The Input-Output matrix and Employment factor methods are considered in assessing the gross and net employment impacts of renewable energy deployment. The paper shows that employment factors vary widely based on the region studied, the size of the RE project, and the decomposition of the value chain. In this paper, employment potential is measured based on capacity installed, money invested or number of temporary and permanent jobs created per year.

The paper also provides a breakdown of skill types and levels required within the various sustainable energy sectors. Additionally, it outlines reasons for skill gaps within these RE sectors and provides recommendations on how to bridge such gaps. It observes that skill shortages or surpluses occur mainly due to poor coordination between RE development initiatives and skill providers such as educational institutions. Planning ahead within the RE and EE sectors to ensure better coordination is therefore, highly recommended.

As for the case studies, it is clear that the PV solar industry is at the forefront of job creation in the RE sector. This article shows the high growth potential of the solar PV industry and thus it’s greater opportunity for job creation. In the United States, energy efficiency strategies are predicted to create more than 4-billion job-years by 2030. Given the renewable energy targets and plans set forth by several countries in the Middle Eastern region, a lot of direct and indirect job opportunities are expected to be created in the coming years.

In analyzing the potential of job creation within the RE sectors, the article recognizes that indirect job losses resulting from phasing out fossil fuels, and the increasing electricity prices play a significant role in determining the actual net employment potential of the RE sector. On the other hand, this paper predicts the continued growth in job creation within the EE sector especially given the necessity for energy efficient measures to aid in curbing climate change.

About the Author:
Steffi Muhanji is completing her bachelor of engineering degree at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Her research interests are in renewable energy systems and electric microgrids. Steffi will be pursuing her PhD at the Thayer School of Engineering starting this fall with Prof. Amro M. Farid as her research adviser.
A full reference list of LIINES publications can be found here:
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The LIINES Commitment to Open-Information

 Good science is reproducible.   This means that it must be publicly available, its contributions transparently communicated, and its data accessible.  These are principles that drive the everyday work of every individual’s research at the LIINES.  We now wish to go further and make a commitment to Open-Information.
Beginning today, the LIINES will seek to leverage its website to make all of its research 100% reproducible by the public at large.   This includes:
  • Sharing all input datasets used to conduct the research for which no prior proprietary or security commitments have been made.
  • Producing scientific publications in such a way that scientific peers can accurately verify & validate the work.
  • Making the content of all conference, journal and book-chapter publications freely available in author preprint form.  (Note: Most publishers allow self-archiving and open-distribution of author preprints).
We believe that the LIINES’ research has broad applicability to academia, industry, government and the public at large.   However, traditional publication venues are often only subscribed by academic universities and a handful of well-funded industrial companies.   All-too-often the people that can benefit from this work, never get a chance to see it.   This slows down the work’s potential impact and is counter to the LIINES mission.   It is for these reasons, that the LIINES makes its Open-Information commitment.
While it is natural that making all of this information available will take some time, we will be sure to keep blogging to keep you up to date of new additions to the LIINES website.  For now, feel free to visit the LIINES Datasets Repository which includes both data from our publications as well as a collation of several relevant and openly available datasets.
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Energy-Water-Food Nexus Research Integral to the IEEE Smart Cities Conference

In addition to its overall success, the IEEE Smart Cities Conference also presented significant research on the Energy-Water-Food Nexus.
On Monday, a two-hour energy-water nexus special session was held featuring multiple aspects of LIINES research.
  • The presentation entitled “Extending the Energy-Water Nexus Reference Architecture to the Sustainable Development of Agriculture, Industry  & Commerce.” provided a high level overview of the types of couplings that exist not just within the energy and water infrastructure but also within end-uses in the agricultural, industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.  Water and energy balance principles were used to systematically highlight the existence of trade-off decisions with the energy-water nexus.
  • The presentation entitled “Extending the Utility Analysis and Integration Model at the Energy Water Nexus” featured LIINES research done in collaboration with the Water Environment Foundation (WEF).   This work argued the need for integrated enterprise management systems within the water utility sector to support sustainable decision-making.
  • The presentation entitled “The Role of Resource Efficient Decentralized Wastewater Treatment in Smart Cities” featured LIINES research done in collaboration with the German startup Ecoglobe.  This work argued the need for resource-efficient decentralized wastewater treatment facilities as a key enabling technology in the energy-water-food nexus.  It then presented Ecoglobe’s WaterbaseTM as such a technology.
On Wednesday, a three hour workshop entitled “Smart Food at the University of Guadalajara (UDG)”  was lead by Diana Romero and Prof. Victor Larios.   It featured the university’s efforts to bring hydroponic farming to future cities.  The workshop also highlighted the UDG’s collaboration with the MIT Media Laboratory’s City Farm Initiative.
Both sessions drew participation of 40-50 conference attendees and active dialogue during the Q&A sessions.  It is clear that a smart city — by all definitions — is one that actively manages the supply and demand for energy, water, and food as an integral activity.   These two sessions demonstrated this need and looks to become a central theme within the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative and its flagship international conferences.

A full reference list of energy-water nexus research at the LIINES can be found on the LIINES publication page:  http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines

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IEEE Smart Cities Conference Establishes Itself as Premier Conference

Several days ago, we wrote a blog post to announce the beginning of the First IEEE Smart Cities Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.   Now that the conference draws to a close, we can firmly say that the conference by all measures has been a tremendous success.  The conference had over 500 registered participants drawing from academia, industry, and government — fully in agreement with the triple-helix model of innovation.  From industry, dozens attended from IBM and Intel alone.   The conference also benefited from the presence of the Governor of Jalisco, The Honorable, Aristóteles Sandoval, as well as several generous industrial sponsors.
The conference also distinguished itself for its focus on civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and innovation.   Aside from the ample opportunity for networking and lively conversation, the conference featured a “Student Hackathon”.   For two days, student teams were challenged to develop, in real-time, cloud-based Smart City Apps on iOS and Android platforms.  The winning teams developed apps for smart transportation, healthcare, and community service and won monetary prizes of 500 & 1000USD.  The LIINES wishes these teams all the best as they form small businesses to bring their apps to the market.
With such participation, and despite the landfall of Hurricane Patricia only 24 hours earlier, it is clear that the First International IEEE Smart Cities Conference has established itself as a premier international conference and the flagship of the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative.  Please do stay tuned for announcements for the 2nd International IEEE Smart Cities Conference to be held in the idyllic mountain city of Trento, Italy in September 2016.  Interested readers can join the IEEE Smart City Initiative and its associated LinkedIn group.
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Searching for Smart City LIINES

Today, Monday October 26th 2015, the first International Smart Cities Conference begins in Guadalajara, Mexico and will continue until Wednesday October 28th.  It is the premier annual conference sponsored by the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative.  Smart Cities are innovative, conceptual, and city-wide technology-human-infrastructure integration platforms.  The conference brings a broad perspective to Smart Cities drawing from a variety of disciplines.  This is evidenced by its 9 tracks including:
  1. Smart Grids
  2. Internet of Things (IoT)
  3. Smart Homes & Buildings
  4. Smart Transport
  5. Smart Environment,
  6. Smart Manufacturing & Logistics
  7. Open Data
  8. Smart Health
  9. Smart Citizens
Here, at the LIINES, the concept of Smart Cities is one to which we have been paying attention for quite some time.  Naturally, with the four research themes of Smart Power Grids, Energy-Water Nexus, Transportation-Electrification Systems, and Industrial Energy Management, we believe that the LIINES has a lot to contribute to the development of intelligent infrastructure in cities of the future.   Prof. Amro M. Farid has been nominated to the IEEE Smart Cities Conference steering committee and also serves as the Workshop & Tutorials co-chair.  He is also track chair for the Smart Grids track to be held all day today.
Interested readers can join the IEEE Smart City Initiative and its associated LinkedIn group.   Additionally, the conference organizers will be live-tweeting on Twitter #IEEESmartCities, #ISC2.  Join us in the developing the Smart Cities of the Future.
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The All-New Dartmouth LIINES Website

In  a recent blogpost, we wrote how the LIINES is moving to Darmouth.  Naturally, when a lab moves so does its website!   The new LIINES website will now be found at http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines but will continue to be mirrored at the original MIT website (http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu) in recognition of our continued collaborative research there.
We look forward to updating the LIINES website to reflect the lab’s continued development.
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The LIINES seeks Quantitatively-Minded Dartmouth Undergrad for Smart Grid Research Competition

The LIINES seeks 1-2 quantitatively-minded Dartmouth undergrads for participation in a smart grid research competition.  This work is a direct extension of our prior work in the smart power grid research theme.   The competition involves multi-agent system negotiation techniques as applied to power system operations and management.  The work can serve as part of a senior thesis or an undergraduate research opportunity.
The successful student(s) will be driven by a sincere interest in the smart grid field and have an affinity to object-oriented programming.   Engineering science or computing science majors are preferred although preparations in heavily computational disciplines such as physics, applied mathematics, and economics are welcome.  A prior portfolio in an object-oriented programming language is required.  C++ is specifically preferred.   More senior undergraduate students are preferred although initiative, interest, and programming fluency will be the determining criteria.

Interested students may contact Prof. Amro M. Farid for further information and an interview. 

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The LIINES is moving to Dartmouth

After four years at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems is moving to the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth!  The move comes as Amro M. Farid assumes his new appointment as an Associate Professor of Engineering at the Thayer School.
As one of the prestigious Ivy League universities, Dartmouth is consistently ranked amongst America’s top dozen universities.  Moreover, the Thayer School of Engineering has several features that when taken together make a well-customized home for the LIINES.   It:
As the LIINES makes its move to Dartmouth, its important to reflect upon some of its achievements in the last four years.  From its initial focus on smart power grids, it’s research program has expanded to address the application of control, automation and information technology to intelligent energy systems.  This has meant the development of three additional research themes namely:
These efforts have lead to several notable outputs.  In research publications, these include 17 journal papers since January 2014 with an average impact factor of 3.874, 2 books, 4 book chapters and 43 conference papers.  In teaching, two new courses were developed ESM 501 System Architecture and ESM 616 Techno-Economic Analysis in Power System Operations.  We are happy that students at the Masdar Institute consistently rated both of these courses highly.  The LIINES has also increasingly taken on an international profile with active leadership in the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS) Technical Committee on Smart Grids, the IEEE Systems, Man & Cybernetics (SMC) Society Technical Committee on Intelligent Industrial Systems, and the Council of Engineering System Universities (CESUN).
Of course, the LIINES’s productivity is largely due to its students.  And so this is also a moment to recognize their hard work and dedication.  This began with the 2013 cohort  Apoorva Santhosh, Reshma Francy, Reem Al Junaibi, Aramazd Muzhikyan continued to William Lubega in 2014 and more recently Deema Allan, Wester Schoonenberg, and Halima Abdulla.  Thanks to the support of Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi, their MIT student colleagues Hussein Abdelhalim, Fang-Yu Liu, and Bo Jiang have also been instrumental in fostering a collaborative international atmosphere despite the time zone hurdles.  Each of these students has made strong research contributions to the growth of the lab and have gone on to successful careers beyond graduation.
Going forward, the LIINES will continue to work in the intelligent energy systems area as part of the Thayer School’s commitment to energy and complex systems.   That said, the LIINES members at Masdar will remain as such and will continue their research in the spirit of international collaboration as their MIT student colleagues have done in the past.  Dr. Toufic Mezher, Professor of Engineering Systems & Management has kindly agreed to coordinate the LIINES student members as they complete their degrees.   Naturally, we will also continue to  collaboration with the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department and more specifically Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi, the Mechatronics Research Laboratory and the Center for Clean Water & Energy.
We’re looking forward to an exciting new 2015-16 academic year at the LIINES.  Stay tuned for more!
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Duke Energy on Analytics and the Internet of Things

It’s been a long time since 2003 when the concept of the Internet of Things was first proposed by U. of Cambridge Auto-ID Laboratory.  At the time, Dr. Amro M. Farid, now head of the Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems, was a doctoral student investigating how RFID technology enabled intelligent products within reconfigurable manufacturing systems.  The Internet of Things was being applied primarily in the manufacturing and supply chain domain.

Since then, the Internet of Things concept has taken hold not just in manufacturing systems and supply chains but nearly every industrial system domain including energy.    Every “thing” or “device” has the potential to be connected via an intelligent sensor so as to make decisions — be they centralized within an operations control center — or distributed amongst artificially intelligent multi-agent systems.   The Internet of Things concept has the potential to fundamentally transform industrial systems.

Have a look at Duke Energy’s take on the Internet of Things:

The LIINES is proud to have been working in this area since its inception and continue to do so.  More information on our research can be found on the LIINES website.

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LIINES Websitehttp://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Journal Paper Accepted at ISA Transaction: Event Triggered State Estimation Techniques for Power Systems with Integrated Variable Energy Resources

The LIINES is happy to announce that ISA Transactions has accepted our recent paper entitled: Event Triggered State Estimation Techniques for Power Systems with Integrated Variable Energy Resources.  The paper is authored by Reshma C. Francy, Prof. Amro M. Farid and Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi.
In recent years, we have had the opportunity to contribute to two large studies that present visions of the future smart grid:  The MIT Future of the Electric Grid Study, and the IEEE Vision for Smart Grid Controls: 2030 and Beyond.  Both of these works emphasized that in order for the future grid to be truly smart, it has to be responsive, dynamic, adaptive and flexible.  This is the case even when highly variable renewable energy sources sources are plugged in.   The first step in achieving this vision is having greater “situational awareness” — knowing what is going on when and where in the grid.
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For decades, state estimation has been a critical technology in achieving such situational awareness for power system operators.   Over time, it has become quite the mature technology. But, the integration of renewable energy changes all that.  Not only does it introduce rapidly changing behavior into the grid; but it also does so in the low voltage distribution system where state estimation is not usually applied.   The conventional solution is to not just monitor the grid faster but also for the entire power grid all the way down to the low voltages.  That means that not only do all the power grid’s measurements have to be gathered from across power grid’s geography but they also have to computed at an ever faster rate.   This is an exponentially growing problem  — hardly a solution befitting a future “smart” grid.
This paper seeks to address these two requirements in a practical way.   The idea is to use a concept called “event-triggering”.  It takes advantage of the fact that the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.  When local power grid conditions are highly variable, say at a wind turbine or solar panel, a “trigger” will kick in telling the state estimator to run.  But when the power grid is relatively stable, the new state estimator will use a simplified linear approach based upon the last time the full state estimator was run.  Relative to traditional state estimation, this simple solution has been shown to reduce computational time by 90% in numerical case studies.
While ultimately, in the long term, the smart grid will require a fundamental “rethink” in how to approach state estimation, monitoring, and situational awareness, this solution demonstrates how traditional state estimation techniques can be enhanced for future smart grid applications.
A full reference list of smart grid research at LIINES can be found on the LIINES publication page: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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LIINES Website: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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