Designing low-cost, low-carbon power systems using the SWITCH optimization model

SWITCH model can explore the cost and feasibility of generation, transmission, and storage options for the future electricity system. The model identifies cost-effective investment decisions for meeting electricity demand, taking into account the existing grid as well as projections of future technological developments, renewable energy potential, fuel costs, and public policy. SWITCH uses time-synchronized load and renewable generation data to evaluate future capacity investments while ensuring that load is met and policy goals are reached at minimum cost. The optimization is formulated as a deterministic linear program, which is solved by standard commercial software.

For more information, see this intro to SWITCH-WECC, a summary of the model’s capabilities, and extensive model documentation.

The team of graduate research fellows working on SWITCH-WECC at RAEL includes: Anne-Perrine Avrin, Juan Pablo Carvallo, Ranjit Deshmukh, Gang He, Patricia Hidalgo-Gonzalez, Josiah Johnston, and Daniel Sanchez.

SWITCH alumni from RAEL include: Ana Mileva and Jimmy Nelson

SWITCH is free and open-access software that can be redistributed and modified under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 3. It was created by Dr. Matthias Fripp for his doctoral dissertation at the Energy and Resources Group and applied to California. At RAEL, SWITCH was adapted to the synchronous region of Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), which encompasses 11 western US states, two Canadian provinces and northern Baja Mexico. SWITCH-WECC also includes a range of additional features:

• Expanded suite of installable technologies, notably carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and storage
• Additional policy constraints such as renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and carbon cap targets
• Ancillary services requirements such as spinning and quickstart reserves
• Generator operational constraints such as heat rate penalties and startup costs
• A present-day dispatch phase and a post-optimization dispatch check

SWITCH-WECC_Documentation_October_2013.pdf1.79 MB
SWITCH-WECC_Intro.pdf403.92 KB
SWITCH-WECC_Capabilities_Sep_2013.pdf431.18 KB