Here at IESES, we would like to be a public resource to you. This newsletter highlights our research and also identifies other newsworthy items related to sustainable energy systems research, policy and investments. Please let us know of other news to share.
Florida State University
Institute for Energy Systems, Economics and Sustainability
Invitation to the Dedication of the Off-Grid Zero Emission Building (OGZEB) at FSUJoin FSU President T.K. Wetherell in dedicating the OGZEB building as a
research test bed to further the technology developed by the Florida State's Energy & Sustainability Center.
The new research facility, dubbed OGZEB (short
for "Off-Grid Zero Emissions Building"), is an 800-square-foot structure
that features building-design and energy innovations. The building was developed by local
architects, engineers and environmental technology companies, as well
as students and faculty from the Center. The
center is an IESES partner.
When: Friday, August 14, at 9:30 A.M.
Where: See map.
Experimental Games Help Policy Makers
Societies that under-invest in
environmentally friendly technologies face the risk of long-term negative
economic growth due to the economic costs of pollution they and other countries
generate. This scenario can be avoided
by adopting new policy measures to encourage additional technological
innovation and investment that reduce pollution. Such are the findings from games designed by FSU
researchers. Svetlana Pevnitskaya
and Dmitry Ryvkin from the FSU Department of Economics are experimental game
theorists. In research funded by IESES, they conduct laboratory experiments
with human subjects to explore how decision makers like governments might act
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while still expanding gross domestic product
These games could be designed for
and used in policy making in Florida. Important policy decisions we are facing,
such as "cap and trade," need to be designed in ways that encourage industry
and government behavior that increases the state domestic product while
reducing pollution. IESES is making this
capacity available for decision makers with real revenue at stake.
Professors Svetlana Pevnitskaya and Dmitry Rvkin
How do the games work? Volunteers arrive at the computer lab in the
basement of the Bellamy
Building on FSU's campus
to participate in experiments. Each
volunteer will become a decision maker in the game where they use virtual
tokens for investments, assess environmental impacts and generate profit. During the experiment, the participants earn
or lose tokens based on choices they make. At the end of the experiment, they
are actually paid in dollars in proportion to the amount of profit their
decisions created in the game.
Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics used in economics. Game theory attempts to quantify the economic
impact of behavior in strategic
situations, in which an individual's outcomes are affected not only by
his or her own choices, but also by choices of others. For example, in the case
of environmental damage and climate change, one country's economic growth increases
greenhouse gas emissions and in turn affects the well being of other countries.
For example, the US and Europe
produce a large proportion of the world's greenhouse gas whereas the
Mekong delta in Vietnam is a region with a large number of rice fields
and produces very little greenhouse gas (read more). However, the Mekong delta is much more
vulnerable to climate change related-sea level rise than the US or Europe.
In Pevnitskaya and
Ryvkin's experiments, decision makers acted as local, state or federal
government bodies whose decisions had global environmental impact. Under
certain conditions their choices lead to investment in technological
innovations that reduced pollution and increased GDP. Ironically, the decision makers in their
games could have invested more in pollution reducing technological innovations
and received even higher returns on their investments. The researchers want to know, why didn't the
decision makers maximize their profits? Policy
incentives might encourage decision makers to maximize profits and reduce
pollution. Both in the game and in
reality, opportunities exist to implement policies that are viable and act to
encourage more investments to reach the best possible profits and pollution
Research Will Aid Homeowners to Become Energy Producers
Six FSU researchers are expanding science
and leveraging funding to provide a solution for meeting Florida's sustainable energy needs. Picture a house with solar panels, a small wind turbine and maybe even a fuel cell power source
connected to batteries both in the house and in a hybrid-electric vehicle that
stores energy created and used by the home.
Now imagine selling excess energy back to your utility company or using
utility power only when needed. A
community of these homes, or something like it, is the vision for FSU
researchers Chris Edrington, Helen Li, Mischa Steurer, Dave Cartes, Juan Ordonez and Jim Zheng. This team is focused on integrating new energy sources
These researchers are not building
houses with renewable energy sources and trying to make the system work better,
they are building representations of the microgrid in computers. Within computer models, they are able to build
and test different configurations and evaluate the best way to construct resilient,
smart and efficient microgrids in homes and communities.
funded through a $383,000 IESES grant has reached its half way point. Based on
the progress so far, the team has developed additional research proposals totaling
$29 million. The scope of these
proposals extends the microgrid research further into communities, industrial
products and to educate a new workforce.
Their efforts are timely, the Florida Public Service Commission recommended that one-fifth of Florida's energy supply come from renewable
resources in about a decade.
Some of this renewable energy will come from people and communities rather than
utilities. Power generated by homes from
using solar systems is still a tiny fraction of Florida's power generation but it's growing
fast (read more). These
homeowner's systems are in their infancy.
This research along with more like it will solve the problems that
inhibit home energy production. Soon more people and communities will produce
renewable energy right at home.
Biofuel Thrust from Florida State UniversityThe following is a blog from the Journal of Renewable Energy Technology interviewing Mike Wetz a partner of IESES in the
The FSU Center for a Systems Approach to Bio-Energy Research.
Biofuels, organic fuels made from plants and vegetables, are considered
to be one of the most promising means of reducing
Dr. Mike Wetz greenhouse gas
increasing energy security by providing a renewable alternative to fossil fuels. Ethanol produced from corn comprises the
majority of renewable fuel in the U.S.; however, world food shortages,
process inefficiencies, and concerns about sustainability have caused a
reevaluation of the long-term viability of corn and other land-based
biomass sources. Read More. Listen to the Podcast of this story.
Dr. 'Yulu' Krothapalli
Harmony teams with FSU to find new ways to power communityThe following is a story of FSU Energy and Sustainability Center, an IESES partner.
A partnership was recently forged between Florida State University's Energy and Sustainability Center and and Harmony, an environmentally friendly community planned in eastern Osceola County. The university plans to build a 5-megawatt power plant that uses solar
thermal energy combined with the gas created by burning biomass, or
matter. That's enough to power an average
of 2,000 homes. Read More.
| IESES is a public resource. The Institute performs scholarly basic research
engineering, science, infrastructure, governance and the related social
dimensions to further a sustainable energy economy. Within the
Institute, centers of focus unite researchers from the disciplines of
engineering, law, geography, economics, urban and regional planning to
sustainability and alternative power issues.
FSU IESES Newsletter
2000 Levy Avenue, Suite 360
Tallahassee, FL 32310
| Upcoming Events: |
Please Attend the Sustainable Energy and Governance Center -
Brown Bag Workshop
"Siting Renewable Energy Infrastructure in Florida: Regulatory Barriers and Key Considerations"
, Visiting Scholar in Energy and Land Use Law, College of Law
When: September 11, 2009 at 12:00 PM.
DeVoe L. Moore Center
150 Bellamy Building
Florida State University
| Recent Events:
| Dr. Tim Chapin
Dr. Tim Chapin and Dr. Melanie Simmons Presented at a conference held at the Florida Department of Transportation called:
| FSU Graduate Appointed to Florida Energy and Climate Commission|
Commissioner Kathy Baughman McLeod
Ms. Baughman McLeod received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida State University. She served as Deputy Chief of Staff for CFO Alex Sink and was appointed by Governor Crist to the Florida Energy and Climate Commission. Read more.