Summer 2023 Fellow: Jack Rehnborg, Bioengineering BA ’23, MS ’24
Learn more about Jack’s experience:
This fellowship is part of a partnership between Stanford in Government, the Precourt Institute for Energy, and the Bill Lane Center for the American West. If you are accepted as a fellow for this office, you will be required to complete a one-unit course on energy in California taught by Professor Bruce Cain and Visiting Fellow Felcia Marcus.
The fellowships run from Monday, June 24, 2024 to Friday, August 30, 2024. If a potential mentor(s) is listed in the posting, address your cover letter to this person(s).
Take a one-unit workshop spring course, ‘Energy Policy in California and the West’ taught by Bruce Cain that will provide an in-depth analysis of the role of California state agencies, the Western Interstate Energy Board, and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council in driving energy policy development, technology innovation, and market structures. Course number is CEE 263G / POLISCI 73 / PUBLPOL 73 / ENERGY 73.
Schedule: Wednesdays from 9:30 am – 10:20 am. (Please note: You can only enroll in the course after getting approved for the fellowship and receiving a permission number.) Please refer to the Shultz Energy Fellowships website for the most up-to-date information about the course.
Western Interstate Energy Board
The Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) is an organization of eleven western states and two western Canadian provinces. The governor of each state and the premier of each province appoint a member to the Board. WIEB’s purpose is to “provide the instruments and framework for cooperative state efforts to enhance the economy of the West and contribute to the well-being of the region’s people.” WIEB works to achieve this through cooperative efforts among member states, provinces, and the federal government. For these efforts, WIEB staff conduct research in comprehensive areas around the Western Interconnection, including grid reliability, resource adequacy, transmission expansion, energy imbalance markets, and nuclear waste transportation. WIEB’s office is in downtown Denver, Colorado.
For more information on WIEB, please visit WIEB’s homepage: http://westernenergyboard.org/wieb/
Laura Rennick, Executive Director of WIEB, will act as the principal mentor for this project. Laura provides overall strategic direction to the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB), enabling the organization to effectively identify and address important energy issues in the West and to support cooperative Western state/provincial efforts in the energy field.
Eric Baran, Program Manager – Electric System Reliability, will also act as a mentor for this project. Eric manages the organization’s work on energy policy issues in the West, emphasizing grid reliability through interactions at the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). He has a background in engineering and public administration.
Robin Arnold, Director of State, Federal, and International Affairs, will also act as a mentor for this project. Robin is responsible for coordination with WIEB States and Provinces and its partners and stakeholders, including the US Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
2024 Internship Project – “Transmission Use and Congestion Analysis in the Western States”
This project aims to use publicly available Locational Marginal Price (LMP) data to analyze recent trends in congestion and transmission usage in the Western Interconnection. LMP data is created by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) as part of its markets, including the Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM). LMPs include components to identify the pricing node, energy cost components, congestion, and losses. This project will analyze large hourly and sub-hour data sets, including data at over 9,000 pricing nodes throughout the West. By analyzing LMP historical data, we aim to find meaningful changes in trends, including the areas of the Western Interconnection that are most stressed, and identify where new or upgraded transmission may be needed. The final outcome will improve understanding of the western transmission system, helping regulators and policymakers incorporate them into its resource planning, transmission planning, and cost allocation analysis. The students selected for this project will lead the WIEB effort to achieve these goals and help answer these questions:
- What transmission paths are constrained, available, and contractually congested but rarely used/scheduled?
- What do CAISO WEIM LMPs tell us about transmission congestion and current transmission needs in a given state?
- As markets in the West come to pass, how should states interpret these “price signals” as they relate to transmission needs?
The students will works as a team to be the lead researchers on this project, with guidance from WIEB advisors. They will analyze large amounts of data with statistical/econometrics models utilizing tools they are comfortable with (i.e., Excel, R, SPSS). The students will have a great chance to exert their data analysis skills through descriptive and time-series analysis, i.e., seasonal and cyclical trends. They will have an opportunity to build statistical and machine-learning models for analyzing trends and forecasting impacts. WIEB will identify a database to start the analysis, provide mentor instruction, and create connections with external advisors with subject matter expertise in modeling the electric system. Still, the students will be free to explore the topic and discover meaningful conclusions from their research. The students will propose and suggest noteworthy findings from the analysis to better understand how LMP information can inform decisions in the Western Interconnection. Finally, the students will present the results and conclusions of their research to state energy officials and utility regulators in the West.
This project will provide students with substantive data exercises, clear direction, guidance on completing the work, and the autonomy to be creative and conduct independent research. The students may create a final report documenting their approach to the data, describing the distribution/model they applied, and historical trends across the Western Interconnection. The students will have regular meetings with WIEB mentors and outside subject matter experts to discuss their plans and findings for the project. Finally, the students will have the opportunity to present their work to WIEB Staff as well as state and provincial policymakers and regulators. At the conclusion of a successful project, the students will feel they are a part of the WIEB team and have significantly contributed to enhancing regional electricity policy in the West.
Desired Skills and Knowledge
The ideal student candidates will have the following skills and knowledge:
- Good research and analytic skills.
- Good written and verbal communication skills.
- Experience using Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- Ability in statistical software (i.e., Python, R, SPSS).
- Ability to work independently and as a member of a research team.
- Coursework in statistics or mathematics.
- Coursework related to energy or environmental policy.
- Interest in data analytics.
- Interest in working on electricity markets and policy.
- Interest in working with energy market experts in the West.