Visiting Speaker: Prof Andrew Ford, Washington State University, USA

ACCS/IEEE Power Engineering Society
Visiting Speaker: Andrew Ford, Washington State University, 3:30pm for 4:00pm, Thursday 22 Feb: Title - "Boom and Bust in Power Plant Construction: Lessons from the California Electricity Crisis"

The ARC Centre for Complex Systems and the IEEE Power Engineering Society (Brisbane Chapter) are pleased to present:

Professor Andrew Ford from the Program in Environmental Science & Regional Planning at Washington State University, and currently at MIT Sloan School of Management

Seminar Title: Boom and Bust in Power Plant Construction: Lessons from the California Electricity Crisis

Speaker: Prof. Andrew Ford, Washington State University, USA

When: Thursday 22 February 2007, 3:30pm: Afternoon Tea, 4:00pm: Seminar

Venue: Afternoon tea: 3:30pm, Room 78-423
Seminar: 4:00pm, Room 78-420
Both on Level 4, General Purposes South (Building 78)
School of ITEE, University of Queensland, St. Lucia

This article argues that competitive electricity markets are prone to the same cycles of boom and bust that appear in commodity markets and in a specialized industry like real estate. The article then demonstrates how boom and bust might appear in the western electricity system using computer simulation. A business as usual simulation shows that the west might be at the crest of a building boom and on the verge of a bust in wholesale prices. Without fundamental changes in the wholesale markets, the next construction boom would come too late to prevent a decline in reserve margins and the reappearance of price spikes. If we continue with the current market structure, we run the risk of exposing the western electricity markets to another round of reliability alerts and price spikes. The article concludes with suggestions for alternative market structures in California and a discussion of whether these suggestions apply to other countries engaged in electricity restructuring.

Andrew Ford is currently on sabbatical at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is visiting the Sloan School of Management and the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Climate Change. Dr. Ford's previous sabbaticals were with the London Business School and the Corporate Planning Department of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Professor Ford earned his Doctorate from the Public Policy and Technology Program at Dartmouth College in 1975. Hen then joined the staff at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he worked on energy and environmental policy studies. He moved to the Systems Management Department at the University of Southern California in 1985. His research at USC focused on energy conservation policies in the U.S. western electric power system.

Professor Ford joined the Environmental Science and Regional Planning Program at Washington State University in 1992. He teaches modeling with an emphasis on energy and environmental problems, and he is the author of the Island Press text on Modeling the Environment. He uses the system dynamics approach to modeling, and he is a recipient of the Jay W. Forrester Award for outstanding contributions to the field of system dynamics.

Professor Ford's recent research concentrates on the use of simulation to understand the dynamics in environmental markets, such as markets for carbon allowance and for tradable green certificates. He is now working with the power systems faculty at WSU to develop an innovative combination of engineering and system dynamics methods for improved simulation of the U.S. western electric system.

World-class basic and applied inter-disciplinary research on questions fundamental to understanding, designing and managing complex systems
2009 The ARC Centre for Complex Systems, Australia