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Strengthening the Power Grid for a More Sustainable Future

Approximately 20% of the energy generated last year in the United States came from renewable sources, and that number is expected to rise in the near future.  While renewables are a step forward on their own, Andreas Waechter and Ermin Wei are working to ensure that a power grid built for relatively simple inputs is ready to make full use of this more varied future.  Their work began as part of a larger team taking part in ARPA-E's Grid Optimization (GO) Competition, developing algorithms for faster and more efficient power routing that has taken them through two successful rounds of competition up to this point.  Their approach has been to develop and demonstrate the efficacy of more precise system models.  Current models often rely on approximate solutions for allocation needs, which have worked well with primarily fossil fuels but begin to suffer as energy sources become more varied.  Waechter and Wei, who both study optimization, see strong potential for reduced environmental impact and consumer costs through a more specific approach, and are seeking to build upon their GO results to ensure that the full benefits of renewable energy are realized in practice.  Learn more here.
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