Renewable Energy Analysis Lab


About the REALab

Our research focuses on how to build a smart grid that will maximize the amount of energy produced from renewable energy sources at a reasonable cost while maintaining the reliability of the electricity supply at the level to which we have grown accustomed.

From Sweden to South Africa and from China to California, governments are encouraging the development of renewable sources of electrical energy. Many of these governments are taking measures to reduce the use of fossil fuels for transportation and heating and are thus likely to increase the proportion of energy that is consumed in electrical form. Accommodating these changes in the generation and consumption of electricity will require a fundamental rethinking in the design and operation of the power grid. A consensus is emerging that many of these challenges could and should be met primarily through the development of a "smart grid" rather than simply building more generating plants and more transmission lines.

The REALab is affiliated with the Clean Energy Institute of the University of Washington.

Recently, we have also focused our research on the resilience of the grid to natural disasters. In particular, we are investigating the following questions:

  • How should repair crews be optimally dispatched in the aftermath of a disaster to minimize the harm done to a community by the absence of electricity?

  • How should a grid be hardened or restructured to minimize the effects of a natural disaster?

In this context, researchers from the REALab have participated in a project aimed at installing emergency solar + battery nanogrids in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, with more details in the coverage.

Recent Updates

  • August, 2022. Congratulations to Dr. Mareldi Ahumada-Parás for successfully defending her dissertation titled "Resilience in Multi-Energy Systems." The REALab wishes her the best of luck with her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford!

  • June, 2022. Congratulations to the REALab graduates from 2021 and 2022! From left to right: Trisha Ray, Mareldi Ahumada-Parás, Nina Vincent, and Kelsey Foster.

  • May, 2021. REALab's Ph.D. student Lane Smith is currently working with Breakthrough Energy to create a computationally efficient demand flexibility model for Breakthrough Energy's open-source production cost model. To adequately model future electrification projections, Lane is also collaborating with researchers from Columbia University, UC Irvine, and Texas A&M University. Lane held an internship position with Breakthrough Energy during the summer of 2020.

  • February, 2021. REALab alumni and a current faculty member at Kuwait University, Dr. Abeer Almaimouni, has designed new teaching slides based on Prof. Kirschen's book "Fundamentals of Power System Economics. (2nd ed)"

  • June, 2020. REALab 2020 graduate, Ryan Elliott, at the ECE department before going off to work at Sandia National Laboratories. Congratulations!

  • April, 2020. Spring Quarter virtual lab meeting during quarantine

  • October, 2019. Kicking off the Autumn Quarter with a presentation by Ryan Elliott on 7 habits of Highly Effective Researchers

  • September, 2019. Welcome new graduate students Trisha Ray, Gord Stephen, and Wenqi Cui and visiting student Qingchun Hou!

  • June, 2019. REALab 2019 graduates at the ECE graduation ceremony. Congratulations!

    Dr. Abeer Almaimouni

    Dr. Ahmad Milyani

    Dr. Daniel Olsen

    Dr. Yushi Tan

  • June, 2019. Dr. Bolun Xu will join Columbia University as an Assistant Professor in Earth and Environmental Engineering in Januray 2020.

  • November, 2018. Prof. Kirschen discusses electricity market reform with the Coordinator Electrico Nacional - Chilean Independent System Operator.

  • October, 2018. Group photo!

    And the guy who hid in the back is...

  • September, 2018. Welcome new graduate student, Nina Vincent, Daniel Tabas, Lane Smith, Jackie Baum and visting professor Kjetil Uhlen!

  • August, 2018. The second edition of Prof. Kirschen's book "Fundamentals of Power System Economics" is available on Wiley and Amazon! Teaching slides for this book can be found here and videos here.

  • June, 2018. REALab graduates Bolun, Jesus and Pan at the EE graduation ceremony.

  • June, 2018. PhD student Bolun Xu (soon to be Dr. Bolun Xu) receives the University of Washington Clean Energy Institute's Scientific Achievement Award.

  • May, 2018. REALab researchers Chanaka Keerthisinghe and Mareldi Ahumada-Parás contribute to the recovery of Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria.

  • May, 2018. Undergraduate students Nathan Hills, Kamil Jiwa, Jerome George Paliakkara, and Yuxuan Chen (L-R) presented a poster describing their research project at UW's Undergraduate Research Symposium.

  • May, 2018. Daniel Kirschen and Baosen Zhang gave presentations at a joint research symposium with Tsinghua University in Beijing

  • Sep-Dec 2017.Daniel Olsen visits Tsinghua University. He conducts research with Professors Kang and Zhang on hot pot and low-carbon campus energy hub design.

  • Nov, 2017. Welcome our new baby visitor!

  • Jun, 2017. REAL congratulates four most recent graduates: Yishen Wang(Ph.D.), Zeyu Wang(Ph.D.), Anna Edwards (M.Sc.), Kevin Morrissey (M.Sc.), and Ryan Hay (M.Sc.)!

  • Oct, 2016. Group meeting, in which Bolun is presenting his research during summer internship in ISO New England.

  • Oct, 2016. Group Photo!

  • Sep 2016. REAL welcomes a new graduate student, Yao Long (Ph.D.) and a visitor, Professor Jinjiang Zhang.

  • June 2016. REAL congratulates four most recent graduates: Mushfiqur Sarker(Ph.D.), Yury Dvorkin (Ph.D.), Anna Edwards (M.Sc.), Kelly Kozdras (M.Sc.), and James Miller (M.Sc.)!

  • Oct, 2016. Ricardo's farewell dinner at the Taste of India.

  • May 2016. REAL welcomes a new visitor - Victoria Guerrero Mestre, a Ph.D. student at the University of Castilla-La Mancha!

  • January 2016. Master's Student Kelly Kozdras Featured in Wogrammer, which breaks down stereotypes about engineers. Read UWEE's release and Wogrammer's article.

  • September 2015. REAL welcomes two new visitors - Jingkun Liu (a Ph.D. student at Thsinghua University) and Kenneth Brunnix (a Ph.D. student at KU Leuven).

  • September 2015. REAL welcomes new graduate students: Ryan Elliot (Ph.D.) and Kevin Morrissey (M.Sc.).

  • September 2015. REAL's undergraduate researchers Phillippe Phanivong and Josh Monson won the poster contest at the symposium titled "Transforming the Future: A Symposium on the Science and Technology of Energy Storage in the Pacific Northwest". More information.

  • September 2015. REAL just hosted the Seminar for the Next Generation of Researchers in Power Systems. The program and slides are available here.

  • July 2015. Congratualtions to new mother Ting Qiu, REAL's Ph.D. student, and her little boy Darren!

  • June 2015. REAL's Ph.D. students Yishen Wang, Yushi Tan and Zeyu Wang will spend this summer interning at Argonne National Laboratory.

  • June 2015. REAL congratulates four most recent graduates: Ahlmahz Negash (Ph.D.), Agustina Gonzalez (M.Sc.), Drew LaQua (M.Sc.), and Rebecca Breeding (M.Sc.)!

  • July 2014. Ahlmahz Negash received the prize paper award in the category "Best Conference Papers on Markets, Economics, and Planning" at the IEEE 2014 Power and Energy Society General Meeting held in National Harbor, MD. Her paper is titled "Optimizing Demand Response Price and Quantity in Wholesale Energy Markets."

  • May 2014. Ahlmahz Negash wins 2nd place prize for "Best Paper Submitted by PhD Student" at 11th International Conference on the European Energy Market, Krakow, Poland. Her paper is titled "Compensation of Demand Response in Competitive Wholesale Markets vs. Retail Incentives".

  • December, 2013. Four REALab students recevied fellowships from the Clean Energy Institute. More information.

  • September, 2013. Start of the new academic year at the REALab. This year the REALab welcomes 10 new visiting and permament graduate students and scholars.

  • April 15, 2013. Yury Dvorkin, a Ph.D. student in the REALab, was awarded the IEEE student housing scholarship for the IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting in Vancouver, BC.

  • April 4, 2013. Mushfiqur Sarker, a Ph.D. student in the REALab, won the first prize of the EEIC poster contest, hosted by the department of EE. More information.

  • April, 2013. The REALab is glad to welcome Abeer Almaimoumi, a new Ph.D. student.

  • February 26, 2013. Professor Gabriela Hug gave a presentation "Distributed Control in Electric Power Systems: Methods and Applications". Watch the lecture here.

  • February 12, 2013. Ben Kujala, an Operations Research Analyst at BPA, delivered a talk on the recent study: "Planning in a Cascading Hydro System with Significant Wind Penetration"

  • October 8, 2012. The collaborative proposal "Architectural and Algorithmic Solutions for Large-Scale PEV Integration into Power Grids" submitted to NFS with colleagues from University of Notre Dame and University of Pennsylvania has been funded.

  • September 21, 2012. Today the REALab welcomes Mushfiq Sarker, a new Ph.D. student.
  • September 10, 2012.Today the REALab welcomes Zeyu Wang, a new graduate student, coming from China.

  • September 4, 2012. Prof. Miguel Ortega-Vazquez delivered a talk on his recent research: "Electric Vehicles Aggregator/System Operator Coordination for Optimal Charging Scheduling and Services Procurement" at "Redes Modernas de Suministro Electrico" in Morelia, Mexico

  • July 3, 2012. Dr. Hrvoje Pandzic delivered a talk on his PhD dissertation: "Maintenance Scheduling of Transmission Lines and Generating Units within a Market Environment".

  • June 5, 2012. Marco Au defended his master thesis entitled "Assessment of Plug-In Electric Vehicles Charging on Distribution Networks".

  • UW will host the IEEE - Northwest Energy Systems Symposium on March 21-22, 2012. More information

  • Professor Daniel Kirschen has been awarded a $1.4m grant from the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), Green Electricity Network Integration (GENI) for a project entitled " Energy Positioning: Control and Economics". More information

  • The Washington Center for Electrical Energy Systems will hold the symposium on Electrical Energy Research and Commercialization on Jun 15, 2011. More information