Modeling Tools for Energy Systems Analysis (MOTESA) (2016-2017)


Understanding the potential and effects of different penetration levels of wind and solar power requires detailed characterization of 1) renewable resources, 2) conventional electricity generation infrastructure and 3) the interaction and coordination of the two in a balancing authority, independent system operator or regional transmission organization.

Earlier iterations of the MOTESA project responded to these three requirements by developing and making accessible a few tools that vary in purpose and sophistication, but that each serve as building blocks for more complex models and are downloadable, well documented and user friendly.

Project Description

The goal of this project is to contribute to the assessment of 1) the economic, reliability and environmental implications of new regulatory constraints (e.g., emissions standards or carbon prices that could result from implementation of the Clean Power Plan); 2) new technologies (e.g., Integrated Solar Combined Cycle, Carbon Capture and Sequestration with Concentrating Solar and coal-drying processes); and 3) new market clearing tools in the U.S. and China. This requires simulating the operations of different power systems (e.g., Duke Energy Progress/Duke Energy Carolinas System and scale versions of midcontinent ISO and PJM power systems) according to models previous MOTESA teams have developed.

Anticipated Outcomes

A report and accompanying computer model that takes as inputs general characteristics of a power generation unit and as outputs a curve of heat input and air emissions along with estimates on water use/consumption (this will be the foundation of an open-access tool that can be developed in future years); a report and corresponding database with information about the feasibility and costs of different hybrid electricity-generating technologies (Integrated Solar Combined Cycle ISCC, Pulverized Coal Plants with postcombustion CCS and amine tanks with thermal solar and or wind, with and without coal drying processes, rooftop, utility scale and community photovoltaic solar); and submission to peer-reviewed journals of articles that discuss the costs, reliability and environmental implications of introducing different electricity market designs and electricity generating technologies


Summer 2016 – Fall 2016

Daily meetings during the summer and weekly meetings during the fall on Mondays, 8:30-9:45 a.m.


Independent study credit available for fall semester; summer stipend

See earlier related team, Modeling Tools for Energy Systems Analysis (MOTESA) (2014-2015).


Faculty/Staff Team Members

John Fay, Nicholas School - Environmental Sciences & Policy*
Mingquan Lee, Nicholas School of the Environment
Dalia Patino Echeverri, Nicholas School - Environmental Sciences & Policy*
Colin Rundel, Trinity - Statistical Science*

Graduate Team Members

Thomas Fleming, Economics
Mingyuhui Liu, Nicholas School - Master of Environmental Mgmt.
Leonardo Shu, Statistical Science
Kaifeng Xu, Nicholas School - Master of Environmental Mgmt.

Undergraduate Team Members

Faisal Alsaadi, Mathematics (AB), Economics (AB2)
Genghua Chen, Environmental Sciences (BS)
Andrew Cooper, Statistical Science (AB), Computer Science (AB2)
Catherine Fei, Mechanical Engineering
Lei Qian, Statistical Science (AB)
Anh Trinh, Computer Science (BS), Statistical Science (BS2)
Yue (Joyce) Xi, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Computer Science (AB2)

* denotes team leader