Blog #1 – First Couple of Weeks

This entry will span the first two weeks at LBNL, but I will be writing daily for a more accurate and in the moment reaction for how I am progressing! Today I had my first introduction call, and I am looking forward to the summer ahead. My supervisors, Bin and Wanshi, are so supportive and amazing, and I am looking forward to learning more about their work. 

I am working on two projects; the first is the impact of Electric Vehicles and their charging stations, and the second is trying to quantify the impact of public safety power shut offs (PSPS), which are kind of “false alarm” power shutoffs because of high winds or other possible dangerous weather patterns. 

I really enjoyed the introduction meeting, and I am now working on trying to understand the bigger picture so that I understand more how Economics ties into the project as a whole. It’s cool because Bin and Wanshi are trusting me with my knowledge of Economics to make smart decisions in quantifying for both projects, and I feel good about this level of trust and support! 

For the rest of the first week, I worked on gathering my own research about electric vehicle usage in the Bay Area so I could have a better understanding and be able to ask more insightful questions during our meetings. It’s been really interesting to get back into “researching” and what tactics work best for me.  I have been enjoying learning more about what ways of learning work better for me, which will of course inform me during the rest of the internship.

For example, one of the things I have learned more in depth about electric vehicles are the different types of charging stations you can get: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Each level differs in ouput and cost, along with other factors. I think it is important for me to get a better sense of every aspect of how electric vehicles work so that I can plan accordingly for data mining research. 

Research is definitely an ongoing thing, and as questions come up, I will write them down as guidelines for what I should look into next. 

For this next week , I’m focusing on the Electric Vehicle project. I was given resources to read through and introductions to the project and the existing models that will help me pinpoint what I look into next. I feel supported in my ability to ask questions and learn from my supervisors, so I am looking forward to this next step in research. I’m now going to focus on the costs differences between the different levels of chargers to try to help build an optimization model. I’m excited to be involved in the overall model as well as having my own contributions. 

I’m focusing on Bay Area costs since costs are drastically different between regions in the United States, and I am trying to think of all the factors that would create a cost: for example, installation costs, as well as upkeep, electricity usage and maintenance. I thought it would be good to start and get a better sense of pricing general EV websites, but I’ve been also calling Bay Area Electricians to get more exact numbers. I think it’s important that I take an accurate survey of the information out there so the model is the most accurate it can be.

Overall, I am feeling very supported and excited to be learning from an amazing group of people! So excited for the rest of the summer.