Understanding the Choice Between Centralized and Decentralized Electricity Infrastructure Development
Todd Levin will present his work that spans a wide range of topics related to energy systems modeling in the context of domestic policy and international development. This includes a MARKAL model of the Georgia state electricity infrastructure that was developed to understand the technical and economic impacts of potential renewable portfolio standards and cap-and-trade legislation. He has published two original methodologies to examine the choice between centralized and decentralized electricity infrastructure development strategies.
The first methodology utilizes a novel network expansion algorithm to identify priority locations for distributed electricity generation infrastructure in 150 countries, The second methodology is based on a mixed-integer programming framework that models optimal electric grid expansion and is applied to a case study of Rwanda. His recent work compares the unsubsidized costs of providing lighting services to rural populations with non-electric technologies and electricity from solar home systems or the grid. He will also present work in progress that attempts to understand the dynamics of three different financial mechanisms that are often used to overcome the large capital requirements of individual solar home systems, direct subsides, rental programs and microloans.
Todd Levin is a Ph.D. student and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at The Georgia Institute of Technology, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Northwestern University. He has spent a summer with the Department of Energy in Washington D.C. developing quantitative models to understand the potential impacts of domestic energy policy, and recently performed field research in Ghana evaluating the effectiveness of a government subsidized microloan program that helps provide solar home systems to populations without grid access.
He is currently participating in a collaboration with scientists from Sana'a University to develop long term energy and water security solutions in Yemen as part of the International Science Partnership Project, organized by the Federation of American Scientists. His Ph.D. thesis is focused on understanding the choice between centralized and decentralized energy development paths in developing countries.