M. (Mohammad) Ansarin
My PhD research is about energy cooperatives and their role in the new energy economy. These democratic organizations are formed through voluntary membership, where members invest both time and money into the cooperative’s operations. In an energy cooperative’s case, members actively pursue the end goal of buying or selling energy in a way that suits them best. Other organizations are mostly bound by either regulations or financial interest in ways that cooperatives are not. Although cooperatives seek to be profitable, their decision making also takes members’ preferences into account. Thus, many cooperatives are formed mainly so members consume or produce green energy. There has not been much insight on how industrial groups form and join cooperatives, so this research focuses more on energy cooperatives in commercial and industrial settings, such as the Port of Rotterdam. I look at how market forces, business models, and regulations influence this organizational form’s usefulness in the renewable energy era.
I also spend some time on another project, where we analyze and improve the Power Trading Agent Competition. Power TAC is a competitive simulation of the electricity grid, where brokers compete to become the most profitable trader of electricity in a distribution grid’s markets (More info at powertac.org). The simulation allows brokers to sign up retail-side customers via tariffs, buy electricity in bulk on a wholesale market, and also control various demand response resources to balance demand and supply. We look at market dynamics and broker behavior within the competition and search for real-world insight.
The Pros and Cons of Industrial Energy Cooperatives
Technological progress and climate change concerns are disrupting the electric- ity supply chain. These factors stimulate public and private interest in renewable energy sources (RES), electric mobility, and pivoting electricity markets to be more demand-driven. However, the electricity grid has historically been centralized and supply-driven. This was mainly because the supply chain was dependent on large- scale, fossil fuel-based electricity generation. Yet many emergent elements in the electricity grid require that it be decentralized and smart. One organizational form that fosters a decentralized grid and smart information systems is energy coopera- tives. This organizational form appeared in the early years of electricity supply in the early 20th century, and has recently found significant implementation in Ger- many as a platform for aggregating distributed RES from small-scale prosumers within a microgrid. However, there is very little research on how this organizational form would operate in an industrial microgrid. In this work, I propose three studies that delve into this topic. I seek to inform the business and academic communi- ties about the advantages and setbacks that energy cooperatives will experience as results of the transition to a decentralized, clean electricity grid.
- energy cooperatives, sustainability, microgrids, electricity markets
- Time frame
- 2015 -
M. Ansarin, Y. Ghiassi-Farrokhfal, W. Ketter & J. Collins (2017). Cross-subsidies in Energy Cooperative Tariff Designs. In Workshop on Information Technology & Systems (WITS)
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