Out West student blog

Load Shifts for a More Sustainable Grid

Image credit: Xinkun Nie

Xinkun Nie PhD '22
Area of Study: Computer Science
Intern, Office of Commissioner Andrew McAllister, California Energy Commission




Why did you want to do this internship?

I dived into energy- and climate change-related topics towards the end of my PhD and have thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I was curious about the regulatory aspects of energy and climate policies and wanted to learn firsthand about the state priorities and the white spaces we need to fill in order to meet our shared climate goals. The summer Shultz Fellowship at the California Energy Commission exposed me to exactly that. I'm also grateful for the opportunity to meet and to work with a group of incredibly passionate, knowledgeable and thoughtful colleagues there.

How does your role support the host organization’s mission?

I'm leveraging my research background in causal inference and statistical methods to help inform policies around load flexibility, electricity pricing, and equity concerns by working with fine-grained real-time power consumption data at the California Energy Commission. 

Describe one project you will be working on this summer.

I am analyzing the impact of different types of utility electricity rates on the grid capacity as well as their impact on low-income communities. 

How does this project relate to your studies and/or career goals?

My PhD research is focused on leveraging data to effectively inform policies and decision-making, and this project allows me to translate what I have learned in academia into real-world use cases for grid decarbonization and equitable energy transitions. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I'm an avid reader, a passionate tennis player, and a very slow trail runner in the beautiful mountains behind Stanford. I'm also proud to make the best matcha lattes and the worst vegan ice creams.

Read more at the Out West Student Blog »

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