Micro-Grids and Virtual Power Plants - The Situation in South Australia

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM, 3 May 2018
Energy Futures Lab , Skempton Building, Imperial College, United Kingdom


Recent blackouts on a main grid devoid of standard fossil generators have pushed a progressive South Australian government toward solar thermal power plants and more wind farms. They have also had Elon Musk install a 100 MWe Tesla Powerpack battery storage facility, the largest in the world. Now Musk will be building a Tesla controlled 50,000 home, solar PV system using Powerwalls for storage. That last idea catapults the micro-grid solution for handling distributed energy generation on the grid to a wholly different level. Leave it to Musk to push hard with a solution that utility providers have just begun to embrace.


Dr. McKinley worked at the Institute for Energy Studies at Stanford University and at the Centre for the Study of Social Policy at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in the 1970s. In the early 1980's he taught at San Diego State University in the departments of Physics and Electrical Engineering. For the next 25 years, he worked on contract and internally for various scientific laboratories and institutions, including Apple Computer, X-Rite technology Centre, Minolta Laboratory Systems, the Centre for Research in Mathematics and Science Education, and the National Science Foundation. In 1995 he founded MetaMind Software to develop educational software for engineering and science students.

In 2005, he joined Apparent, where he led program development for "EnergyREView", a browser-based energy monitoring system for renewable energy systems. He later provided White Papers on the basic mathematics used to explain power factor correction using the company's micro-inverter product. He participated in two patents with the company.

While at the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the Australian National University in Canberra from 2010, he studied the Australian electrical grid system and is currently working on issues concerned with the integration of renewables on the electricity grid in the US, Australia and Europe. His main interest is micro-grids and embedded networks. He currently teaches Sustainable Energy Systems at UCL in London on short term contract.

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