In a research project entitled "Incorporating Endogenous Demand Dynamics into Long-term Capacity Expansion Power System Models for Developing Countries," Rhonda worked with Mort Webster, John Sterman, Richard de Neufville and Ignacio Perez-Arriaga to develop a novel approach to long-term power system capacity expansion planning for developing countries by incorporating demand dynamics resulting from social processes of technology adoption. Conventional capacity expansion models assume exogenous demand growth; however, literature suggests that this assumption is not appropriate for developing countries. The planning approach presented in this research explicitly represents the links between the social and technical components of the power system. As potential customers without electricity select between various supply options to meet their power needs and as existing customers alter their consumption in reaction to the price of electricity and the perceived performance of the grid, the demand for grid power is directly impacted. This research demonstrates that neglecting these feedbacks and resorting to simplified assumptions can result in suboptimal investment strategies. Additionally, the methodology demonstrated in this research not only addresses a major challenge facing many regions around the world; this research presented a unique class of complex problems that are commonly left unaddressed - the problem of sequential decision-making under uncertainty in systems with feedbacks and path dependency. Rhonda focused on the case of power sector planning in Tanzania.
The aforementioned research took place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Check MIT's Engineering Systems Division for more information. Rhonda was also hosted by the Rural Energy Agency in Tanzania during 2010 to collect data for this work.
Previous Research Activities
Under the supervision of Prof. Keren Bergman at Columbia University's Lightwave Research Laboratory, Rhonda worked on the the Data Vortex Optical Packet Switching Network. With Odile Liboiron-Ladouceur, Rhonda investigated the role DPSK modulated payload channels could potentially play in the context of optical packet switching networks. Rhonda performed Bit-Error-Rate derivations for DPSK signals and proved derivation using OptSim by RSoft.
The aforementioned research was performed at Columbia University. Check the Lightwave Research Laboratory for more information.