Postdoctoral Scholars – Renewable Energy Microgrids Industry-Sponsored Projects – UCSD Center for Energy Research

University of California, San Diego

Job Type: Postdoc

Application Deadline: November 30, 2020

The Center for Energy Research will hire two postdoctoral scholars for an industry-sponsored project to promote renewable energy microgrids for operations in remote areas. The project is a collaboration between UC San Diego, Sandia National Lab, and Penn State University. The microgrids integrate high penetrations of solar PV along with electrical energy storage and load electrification. There is also thermal load which must also be served from renewables in combination with thermal storage. These systems must operate with extremely high reliability and meet economic criteria.

The University of California employs about 5,963 postdoctoral scholars (approx. 1,200 at UCSD) who contribute to the academic community by enhancing the research and education programs of the university. The postdoctoral experience emphasizes scholarship and continued research training. UC’s postdoctoral scholars bring expertise and creativity that enrich the research environment for all members of the UC community, including graduate and undergraduate students. Appointment durations vary depending on the length of the research project and availability of funding. Total duration of an individual’s postdoctoral service may not exceed five years, including postdoctoral service at other institutions. The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) is the exclusive representative of the postdoctoral scholars.

Basic Qualification:
PhD in electrical or mechanical engineering or related fields. Appointment is dependent on academic experience, scholarly achievements, skills and knowledge and needs of the ORU. Experience with either optimization or model predictive control (or both).

Position 1: Solar Energy Variability.
While power system operation occurs on time scales of seconds, solar resource data is typically only available every 15 minutes or longer and over spatial scales of a few km. The postdoc would develop physically-based downscaling and upscaling models for satellite solar resource data to create multi-year output timeseries of solar power plants of 10 to 100s of MW. Characterization of solar variability and integration into power systems or microgrid modeling will then inform renewable microgrid system design and economics. For an example of a related model see the Wavelet Variability Model.

Preferred Qualifications:
Experience with transfer functions, filters, fourier analysis. Experience with solar resource data analysis and modeling. Candidate presently located in the US or in the possession of US work permit.

Position 2: Unit commitment, model-predictive control
The postdoc will develop approaches for microgrid techno-economic modeling at high temporal resolution (1 minute or less) over one representative year (8760 hours). Microgrid resource (storage, solar, gas generators) sizing and dispatch is a computationally intensive optimization problem and is usually performed only for hourly data and for representative periods. The postdoc will develop approaches to accelerate unit commitment problems using advanced optimization techniques and data selection techniques. For an example of a relevant microgrid sizing and dispatch model, see DER-CAM. The dispatch model then need to be integrated into a model predictive controls framework to simulate microgrid operation.

Preferred Qualifications:
Experience with techno-economic modeling, unit commitment, economic dispatch. Candidate presently located in the US or in the possession of a US work permit.

Salary is commensurate with qualifications and based on published University of California pay scales. Applications (CV, Research Statement, Cover letter, and references, at minimum) must be submitted to the UCSD on-line application collection system, AP-On-Line Recruit, at:

The Office of Research Affairs and CER at UC San Diego is committed to academic excellence and diversity within the academic, staff, and student body. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

La Jolla, CA

Posted: November 08, 2020