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Kelcey Lajoie: Graduating Fellow of the Hydro Research Foundation

Kelcey Lajoie

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of profiles provided by the Hydro Research Foundation that highlight potential future members of the hydroelectric power industry and their accomplishments.

The Hydro Research Foundation is actively supporting graduate students to conduct research related to conventional and pumped storage hydropower. These students are funded through the Department of Energy’s Water Power Program and industry partners.

Kelcey Lajoie will graduate next month from Oregon State University, earning her MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a focus on Energy Systems. Kelcey graduated magna cum laude from the University of Portland in 2012 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. She has worked for Bonneville Power Administration since 2010 as a student intern and through this experience has learned about the complex nature of the power system in the Northwest. Her passion to understand this intricate system fueled her decision to pursue a Master’s Degree. Upon graduation Kelcey will take a full time position with Bonneville Power Administration.

Kelcey research focused on the Advanced Study of Wind Power Variability on the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) using data provided by Bonneville Power Administration. Alongside her advisor, Dr. Ted Brekken at Oregon State University Kelcey found preliminary studies by Oregon State University researchers have determined that the impact of wind on the hydropower system is less expected. Therefore, a greater in-depth analysis is required. Hydropower’s characteristics make it an excellent partner for wind power, but to a limit. So far the FCRPS has been able to accommodate the large amount of wind power in the BPA balancing area, and as initial research has shown, with apparently surprisingly little impact on hydro unit life and operation. However, wind power is expected to grow rapidly with some estimates placing the maximum installed capacity reaching 8,000 MW. That is approaching the peak Bonneville Power Administration area load. There are indicators that a critical point in wind penetration may already be close at hand as evidenced by the occasional but significant wind power curtailment events in the last few years.

The research question was: Exactly what wind power’s impact on the hydro-system is, and at what penetration levels it becomes significant and how much of the wind power variability is effectively exported to neighboring balancing areas? The results of these studies will then be used to update the RDI model and cost functions used in the LEC algorithm currently being developed by Oregon State University researchers.

To connect with Kelcey or learn more about the Fellowship program please email info@hydrofoundation.org or visit the website www.hydrofoundation.org.

About 40 members of the Hydro Research Foundation's Hydro Fellows program will be in Nashville, Tenn., at the upcoming HydroVision International 2014 Conference and Exhibition. This select group of early-career researchers have been recognized for their potential in leading the hydropower industry of tomorrow. The HRF Fellows will be available to discuss their findings in a number of fields Tuesday, July 22 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. For more information about this exciting opportunity, visit here.


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