LBNL Report Number
Electricity supply may be entering a period of significant change, and currently there are conflicting visions for the reshaped industry. A major share of the uncertainty revolves around the pressing need for carbon emissions abatement, while at the same time, there is an additional and growing requirement of modern economies for high power quality and reliability (PQR). The developed economies must urgently find the most cost effective means of meeting these two objectives. This paper begins by describing two stylized alternative visions in popular currency of how the power system might evolve to meet increasing future requirements for PQR, a supergrids paradigm and a dispersed paradigm. An economic perspective is presented on the choice of homogeneous universal power quality upstream in the electricity supply chain, and on the extremely heterogeneous requirements of end-use loads. One promising approach discussed for addressing our current challenges is via the deployment of microgrids in commercial buildings. The Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model (DER-CAM), an optimization approach to choosing such systems and their operating schedules, is described and recently added extensions to incorporate heat and electrical storage options are demonstrated. An illustrative example for a San Francisco hotel is reported.