Image of IESES LogoFlorida State University
Institute for Energy Systems, Economics and


November 2009
In This Issue
Upcoming Events: Florida Symposium on Offshore Energy-Part II: The Inshore Challenges of Offshore Energy
Recent Events: Florida Symposium on Offshore Energy Part I: Oil and Gas
The Center for Advanced Power Systems
Schedule of Tours of the Off-Grid Zero Emissions Building
FSU Artists Care about the Environment: In the IESES Lobby and in the World
Students working on Governance and Sustainable Energy
How Much Power Can Florida's Winds Provide?...Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies
Research in the News:...Energy research site still a "go" in Harmony
Upcoming Events

Florida Symposium on Offshore Energy-Part II: The Inshore Challenges of Offshore Energy

This Symposium will address the ecological, spatial, and legal aspects of energy development in Florida.

When: February 1, 2009
Where: The FSU Turnbull Conference Center

Watch for updates on the IESES website or contact Melanie Simmons at 850-645-9165 or for more information.
Recent Events

Florida Symposium on Offshore Energy Part I: Oil and Gas

See the panelists' bios, presentations and other information on the IESES website
Research Progress
The Center for Advanced Power Systems
Image of Steinar Dale
Steiner Dale, Director of the FSU Center for Advanced Power Systems

By Gary Fineout

Most people don't think too much about what's going to happen when they flick on a light switch.  They just expect the power to be on.

"If it's not there, they get mad,'' said Steinar Dale, director of the Florida State University Center for Advanced Power Systems.

But getting power to your home or business isn't an easy task. Moving large amounts of electricity from power plants into the wire that flows into a building is actually an enormously complex process. And that process is getting increasingly more complicated as utilities across the country attempt to move away from traditional sources of power such as coal and oil and toward renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar.

That's where the Center for Advanced Power Systems comes in.  It's home to some of the most unique research facilities in the nation, a place where utilities and the federal government use advanced  simulators to test the wide range of conditions that can affect electrical power systems.  That's important  information that can help them before they spend millions to build these power sources.

Want just one example? The center is helping with a wind farm in Oregon. As anyone knows, the wind doesn't blow constantly - and the force of the wind can vary if wind turbines are spread out across a large landscape.

But at the same time, an electric utility using wind power can't plunge its customers in the dark if the wind dies down. The center is helping with research that can help design
a predictable system - which may include a backup power source - so that the wind power project is a success.

"If you have hundreds of these wind sources out there, how do you best connect them together and optimize power delivery?'' Dale said. "One of the things we are looking at is what happens when the wind suddenly stops. Where's the power going to come from?"

The Center for Advanced Power Systems was established in 2000, and its home is a 36,000-square-foot facility that sits across the street from the university's brand-new High-Performance Materials Institute, located on Florida State's Southwest Campus in Tallahassee. The center, which has a roughly $5 million budget, has 40 people working there, including 22 students. 

What may be a fairly ordinary- looking building on the outside masks the complicated research going on inside. The center, for example, is home to a 5-megawatt power system that it has used in some of its experiments. The two motors that make up the system are capable of producing enough electricity to power between 4,000 and 5,000 homes.

This powerful motor - as well as other devices - can be hooked up to the center's real-time digital simulator. Spread out over the second floor of the center, this simulator is composed of a bay of computers capable of reproducing the conditions that electric utilities and large power users must deal with on a daily basis.

The simulator allowed researchers at the center, for example, to test the 5-megawatt power system as if it were aboard a large warship being buffeted by 50-foot waves.

"Such a test has never been done by anybody before or since,'' Dale said. The center replicated the conditions of rough seas because it is part of a consortium of universities sharing a five-year grant from the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research to create an all-electric warship. The center was part of an initial $50 million grant that has been extended for another five years and $42.5 million. The goal is to create a ship that has everything on board run by electricity, whether it's the propulsion motors, the lights or electromagnetic weapons.

Dale says that about 70 percent of the research being done at the center is on behalf of the Navy. But the center also is doing work to help keep the lights on across the nation. In 2005, researchers won a major grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to improve the reliability and security of the electrical grid that provides power to homes and businesses.

Last fall, the Center for Advanced Power Systems and the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering were selected to become partners with a national engineering research center headed by North Carolina State University working to incorporate emerging technology - including renewable and alternative energy - into everyday use.

"Most of our work deals with looking at new technologies and how you use new technology to improve the reliability of the grid, so you don't have brownouts and blackouts,'' Dale said. In other words, Dale's center is making sure that the lights keep coming on whenever someone flips a switch.

The Center for Advanced Power Systems is an IESES Partner and this article originally appeared in the September Issue of Florida State Times.Why not read more?
Schedule of Tours of the Off-Grid Zero Emissions Building
OGZEB house

What Dates: First and third Friday of the month
When: Tours begin on the hour between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM
Where: see Map
Contact: Justin Kramer

Join Our Mailing List!

Here at IESES, we serve as a public resource. This newsletter highlights the research of our colleagues and noteworthy items related to achieving a sustainable energy economy. If you have news to share, please let us know. 

Image of Dave Cartes

Dave Cartes


FSU Artists Care about the Environment:
In the World and in the IESES Lobby

Image of Artists at IESES

Ray Burggraf, Dave Cartes, Lilian Garcia-Roig and Mark Messersmith in the IESES lobby in front of a Messersmith painting.   

The work of three renowned FSU faculty artists graces the walls of the FSU Institute for Energy Systems, Economics and Sustainability.  Ray Burggraf, Lilian Garcia-Roig, and Mark Messersmith exhibit together under the show title of A Mysterious Clarity

A Mysterious Clarity is an exhibition of paintings of these three landscape artists who came to Florida from very different artistic backgrounds to teach painting at FSU.  Their ideas about landscape and painting strongly converge as they bring their view of nature as something found still relatively unspoiled-but fragile and endangered.  Their paintings reveal mysteries in a few precious moments of clarity of vision. 

"We are honored by the artist's concern for the natural environment and the environment of the IESES offices," said Dave Cartes, Director of IESES. 

The exhibition will remain on display at the IESES offices through January 2010.  Come by and see for yourself at 2000 Levy Avenue, Suite 360, Tallahassee, Florida 32310.  
Students working on Governance and Sustainable Energy
Image of Richard Feiock
By Richard Feiock

A dozen Askew School doctoral students are working on research projects related to local governance, sustainable energy and climate change. The program in local governance was expanded to encompass local energy and sustainability issues with the establishment of FSU's Sustainable Energy & Governance Center  and appointment of Rick Feiock as Director. The Center's focus is on business, law and social science research investigating the role of government and governance institutions in shaping sustainable energy outcomes at the state and local level.  The Center is particularly interested in legal and institutional barriers to policy innovation and other factors that shape sustainable energy adoption, diffusion and implementation.

The initial project is a survey to measure sustainability and energy/climate policies of Florida cities, counties and school districts supported by a $165,000 grant award from the Florida State Institute for Sustainable Energy Economics and Sustainability (IESES). Three Askew School students are working as research assistants on this project. In addition, DeVoe Moore Fellow Tony Kassekert, and University Fellow Hongtao Yi are contributing to this project.

Image of Askew School Students
Pictured from left to right: Hyunsang Ha, Jungah Bae, Jisun Youm, Hongtao Yi, Ssu-Hsien Chen, Dr. Richard Feiock, Se Jin Lee, Youngmi Lee, Anthony Kassekert, Jongsun Park, In Won Lee, Sang Chul Park

A $100,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation was recently awarded to conduct a national survey of sustainable energy policies and as well as network analysis of collaboration networks on energy issues in three Florida metro areas. This project is being coordinated by In-Won Lee, a recent Askew School Ph.D. and a post-doc on the NSF grant.
Florida Campus Compact will support a community service-research project to encourage citizen participation in energy conservation services offered in the community. Also, a small grant from the IBM Endowment for the Business of Government will support a national study of adoption and implementation of energy conservation measures in local governments.

Several other students are working on research projects for which funding will be sought in the future. These include a study of the diffusion of city participation in climate change agreements, an assessment of green development incentives and their impacts on economic development and job growth in the clean energy sector as well as state level studies of diffusion of climate action plans.

Through these activities, the Sustainable Energy & Governance Center will play an important role in Florida's energy future. The sustainable energy initiative is already bearing fruit in terms of increased knowledge, grant awards and academic publications. Within the field of public administration, the Askew School is now positioned to become the leading program in the nation in basic research and the training of doctoral students in sustainable energy policy and local governance.
How Much Power Can Florida's Winds Provide?
Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies

Image of Mark Powell    Image of Shawn Smith      Image of Cocke

Article written by and pictured from left to right:
Mark Powell-NOAA Scientist, Shawn Smith-Research Associate, and Steve Cocke-Associate Scholar Scientist from the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS).
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With all the discussion on the climate bill and a national renewable energy standard, all sources of clean renewables are on the table: wind, photovoltaic solar, solar thermal, biofuels, biomass, and ocean currents. The U.S. is a world leader in wind energy, but what about Florida? Do we have enough wind to support a new industry and the jobs and revenue that could come with it? COAPS scientists are launching a pilot study to examine offshore and coastal wind potential in our state.
Air Force tower N7, located in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, has been instrumented by FSU to provide meteorological data at multiple observing heights.

According to previous research conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Navigant Consulting at the request of Florida's Public Service Commission, offshore wind has "large technical potential" in Florida, and certain sections off the northeast and northwest panhandle are economically sustainable. About 40,000 Megawatts (MW) of offshore power were identified, enough to power ~2.6 million homes and about four times the current installed capacity of wind energy in the U.S.  Coastal wind (within 300 m of the coast) was also recognized as a marginally economically viable wind resource, with a potential power of 186 MW (~120,000 homes).

However, this study and similar research have largely been based on climate data from surface and upper air stations, and little information is known about offshore wind power and its dependence on mesoscale processes or the impact of coastal circulations, like sea and land breezes, on coastal wind power. A map of coastal and offshore Florida wind measurement stations by Melissa Griffin at COAPS suggests that we may have sufficient data to explore potential wind resources in further detail. In particular, tower N7 - instrumented by FSU as part of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Institute - is uniquely sited, and can collect wind measurements at a height similar to most standard offshore turbines.

In our pilot study supported by The Florida State University's Institute for Energy Systems, Economics, and Sustainability (IESES), we will examine the climate data to compute the annual wind resource and its seasonal variability at selected stations. We will compute the wind power density by summing the product of the air density and the cube of the hourly wind speed. The hourly wind speed is estimated at the turbine hub height so we will be using stability-dependent surface layer wind-height relationships that were developed by Prof. Mark Bourassa for the FSU marine flux program at COAPS.  Once that is completed the next step will be to evaluate regional scale models to see how well they capture the wind climate at the station locations. If the pilot study shows potential based on selected stations, a full-scale study will be proposed.

Image of Bouy Map

Distribution of surface wind observing stations available from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA, green), National Data Buoy Center (NDBC, blue), and the FSU instrumented tower N7 (red).  Credit: Melissa Griffin.
Useful Links

Florida House of Representatives Energy & Utilities Policy Committee
Florida Senate Committee on Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities
Florida Senate Policy and Steering Committee on Energy, Environment, and Land Use
Florida Energy and Climate Commission
Research in the News
Energy research site still a "go" in Harmony
By Jessica Solis for Osceola News

A year after Osceola County officials unveiled a partnership with Florida State University for a new energy research facility in Harmony, community and university leaders said they are finally ready to get the project off the ground.

Construction on the new FSU Sustainable Energy Science and Engineering Center will not begin until next fall, but the university will begin conducting research in Harmony as early as next year, Harmony Development Company CEO Jim Lentz said at a business luncheon last week. Read more.

The FSU Energy and Sustainability Center is an IESES partner. 
The Institute is a public resource. Here we carry out scholarly basic research and analysis in engineering, science, infrastructure, governance and the related social dimensions to further a sustainable energy economy. The Institute unites researchers from the disciplines of engineering, natural sciences, law, urban and regional planning, geography and economics to address sustainability and alternative power issues in the context of global climate change.
The Center for a Systems Approach to Bio-Energy Research;
The Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis ;
The Public Utility Research Center; and
The Florida Energy Systems Consortium.

Editor: Melanie Simmons at
FSU IESES Newsletter
2000 Levy Avenue, Suite 360
Tallahassee, FL 32310
(850) 645-9165