Recap of 2023 AGI Industry Day

The theme of the 2023 AGI Industry Day was “Pathways Toward A Clean Energy Grid” and was held on August 30 in a hybrid format with participants on the WSU Tri-Cities campus in Richland, Washington and on-line.  Over 190 participants from 58 organizations registered for the event that included speakers from DOE, PNNL, WSU, legislators, regulatory agencies, state legislatures, state agencies, utilities, and other grid industries.  The keynote address was provided by Michael Pesin from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity.

The 2023 AGI Industry Day kicked off with co-directors Noel Schulz from WSU and Jeff Dagle from PNNL giving introductory comments to start the day.

The Advanced Grid Institute has the goal of advancing power systems across America and the world. Dagle gave an overview of the AGI strategic plan, created in 2021, whose goals include research, education, influence and institutional collaboration.

Schulz introduced the Joint Appointees of the AGI project; the Joint Appointees have affiliations with both PNNL and WSU. Those Joint Appointees include Kevin Schneider, Anamika Dubey, Noel Schulz, and Mani Venkatasubramanian.

Dagle highlighted several of the AGI projects that are ongoing or recently completed. Those projects include “Bandwidth Forecast in Grid Communications,” Clean Energy Fund Transactive Campus Phase II,” Development of Performance Degradation Models” and more.

The Distinguished Graduate Research Program (DGRP) is a partnership between WSU and PNNL, where students work with the two entities to further develop their industry knowledge, research and education. The two new Ph.D. students working with AGI this year are Ben McCornack and Charlotte Wertz.

The first two years of the DGRP are funded by WSU and focus on completing schoolwork. Years three and four are funded by PNNL and focus more heavily on national lab and industry experience.

WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Sandra Haynes welcomed the audience to the campus and spoke on the strong relationship that WSU Tri-Cities has with PNNL. Haynes highlighted the diversity of the student population on the WSU Tri-Cities campus, with 50% students of color, 46% first-generation students and 60% female students as three highlighted statistics.

WSU Tri-Cities has recently partnered with Snohomish County to help with testing and research to further sustainable fuel for aviation in the area and the state. “We have a prime location in the mid-Columbia region for energy resources that allows us to focus on the energy needs in our state,” Haynes said.

Jonathan Male, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Director of National Laboratory Partnerships, introduced WSU Research in hydrogen. One of the other projects that PNNL and WSU are working on together is the “WSU-PNNL Nuclear Science and Technology Institute,” whose goal is to “Seek to understand and control how materials evolve in radiation environments to advance knowledge in nuclear materials management.”

Male said that one of the goals of the partnership between WSU and PNNL is that “Washington State University will be recognized for embracing risk and bold thinking to serve the needs of its communities through innovative research, scholarship, and creative activities.”

Jud Virden, Associate Laboratory Director, Energy and Environment for PNNL, reflected on the beginning of AGI, about five years ago, and how investing and developing the grid is more important now than it was at the start of the project.

Deb Gracio, Associate Laboratory Director, National Security Directorate for PNNL, shared her perspectives on how AGI can solve problems at scale, and how many distinct aspects go into the project, including data analytics and cybersecurity to secure critical infrastructure assets.

Both Virden and Gracio highlighted that the active participation of the AGI Day participants will help AGI maximize its impact in the future with current and emerging project opportunities.

Michael Pesin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grid Systems and Component Division from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity spoke on what the grid of the future might look like and shared how the grid transmission and distribution systems are merging into one energy delivery system.  Pesin first focused on the catalysts of the changes that the decarbonatization of the grid will look like.

“One of the big drivers is the efforts to decarbonize the grid and the US economy. As you know, this administration has very ambitious goals to have carbon-free pollution electricity by 2035, which is very aggressive. It requires us to have a complete paradigm shift of how we operate, how we design and plan the grid,” Pesin said.

In addition to the above speakers, AGI Industry Day featured panels on implementing energy policy with state regulators and electric vehicles and the grid.  One afternoon session highlighted multiple AGI research projects.  A State of Washington legislator discussed the opportunities and challenges as lawmakers develop clean energy goals.  The final technical event of the day was a panel of grid industry experts talking about the challenges and opportunities for future clean energy solutions related to the electric power grid.

After the formal program, attendees networked at a reception at the WSU Tri-Cities Wine Science Center and 12 AGI technical posters were shared and discussed.

To see the recordings, PowerPoint slides and posters, visit the AGI Industry Day Website.

AGI Co-Directors Jeff Dagle and Noel Schulz welcome 2023 AGI Industry Day participants

DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary Michael Pesin delivers “Moving to the Grid of the Future” keynote address at 2023 AGI Industry Day

AGI Day Networking Reception featured posters from PNNL and WSU researchers
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