A framework for evaluating electric power grid improvements in Puerto Rico
This report is based on analysis performed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory from March 2018 to July 2018 in support of Puerto Rico’s recovery plan, Transformation and Innovation in the Wake of Devastation: An Economic and Disaster Recovery Plan for Puerto Rico. In support of the Energy sector analysis done at HSOAC for the recovery plan, this Lincoln Laboratory project explored possible new architectures for providing electricity service in Puerto Rico at reasonable cost during normal conditions, and, at the same time to serve as many end users as possible during extreme conditions when major equipment fails to function. Architectures of interest are combinations of physical hardware deployment/hardening and information technology (IT)-enabled enhanced operations. Retrofits to existing large-scale power plants; integration of non-utility owned gas power plants; integration of utility scale solar photovoltaics with or without storage; and widely dispersed small solar photovoltaics (PVs) with or without storage were all considered. With “IT-enabled enhanced operations,” grid operators receive guidance from modern optimization algorithms that make better use of voltage control, real power dispatch, and load shedding than a human can. This enables continued system operations as system conditions degrade.
The purpose of this document is to show how various Puerto Rico power grid improvements could be evaluated, against metrics for both economics and resilience. Next, we illustrate a low-cost enhancement using a model of the Puerto Rico power grid. Analysis shows that a modern grid control method, corrective dispatch, could significantly reduce energy costs and also arrest cascading power blackouts as seen following the 2017 hurricanes, Irma and Maria.
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