Prior to graduate school, I worked for several years as a Research Specialist in an outdoor solar photovoltaic test facility at the University of Arizona. I worked with different electric utilities, private companies and citizen groups to help answer the solar energy questions they found most relevant. I had a particular focus in educational outreach, helping to develop solar energy curriculum for community college students, middle school Girl Scouts, and education levels in between.
My current research is on electric power systems, with a focus in electricity market designs and regulation reserves. There is plenty of debate today about the cost of integrating variable sources of energy – like solar and wind – but we do not have a consistent market mechanism for pricing it. I am exploring ways to calculate the marginal price of variable power injections on the grid. I am curious how such a price could enable the participation of energy storage systems in electricity markets.
University of Arizona
College of Engineering | B.S. Engineering Physics (2011)
- Arizona Excellence Scholarship for Undergraduate Studies
- Academic Distinction Award
University of Wisconsin-Madison
College of Engineering | M.S. Electrical Engineering (2017) | Ph.D. Electical Engineering (2020)
Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies | Energy Analysis and Policy Certificate (2018)
- Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
September 2015 – present | Madison WI
- Current graduate research interests include electric power systems, electricity markets, optimal dispatch with variability, microgrids, renewable energy, distributed energy resources.
- Lead a student project with the Organization of MISO States to quantify the existence of distributed energy resources within the Midcontinent Independent System Operator territory and to compare the grid interconnection policies of other regional transmission organizations.
May 2018 – August 2018 | Golden CO
- Improved the Resource Planning Model, a capacity expansion model used by both the research community and industry to plan electric grid power capacity growth under various renewable energy scenarios. Areas of focus included transmission expansion, wheeling charges, and regional diversity of fuel prices and capital power plant costs.
- Interfaced with electric power utility company personnel to identify their unique system needs and develop model frameworks necessary to address those needs.
- Worked with a diverse scientific team as a self-initiating researcher.
May 2010 – September 2015 | Tucson AZ
- Designed experiments and associated monitoring equipment to report performance and reliability measures of photovoltaic systems across Southern Arizona.
- Supervised and collaborated with student researchers, guiding experiments, data analysis and paper writing.
- Wrote grants and research proposals for laboratory funding.
- Worked directly with electric power utility companies to understand the barriers to grid integration of solar photovoltaic systems.
- Managed collaborative research projects and maintained productive communication with industry partners.
- Gave frequent laboratory tours and occasional information seminars to the interested public.
- Constructed data acquisition systems suitable for monitoring performance and reliability of grid-tied PV systems.
- Installed and evaluated new PV system technologies throughout southern Arizona. Analyses of system technologies benefited electric utility companies, product developers, and the scientific community.
September 2011 – September 2015 | Durham NC
- Performed routine measurements, data collection and periodic maintenance of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) 2-axis tracker system located in Tucson to aid product development.
January 2011 – May 2011 | Tucson AZ
- Advised future commercial energy production for private companies by developing research experiments that met industrial criteria for PV energy consumption at each site.
- Created one semester photovoltaic installer curriculum for Arizona Western College, Yuma, Arizona.
- Developed solar energy education outreach for secondary school students in Tucson, Arizona, including six week photovoltaic curriculum that meets Arizona science standards.
June 2008 – August 2008 | Huntsville AL
- Performed concept trade study for seismometer package on Lunar Lander.
- Conducted materials and electrical engineering experiments on space-compatible ferroelectric circuit elements.
January 2007 – December 2007 | Tucson AZ
- Managed student team on NASA OSIRIS Discovery Space Mission (Phase A) with $584,000 project budget.
- Wrote sections of Concept Study Report for NASA selection committee.
- Headed cosmic radiation research using solid physics techniques on lithium fluoride crystals and optical image reduction of charged couple devices.
- Brooks, A.E., Lesieutre, B.C. “A Locational Price for Power Injection Fluctuations of Variable Generation and Load.” 10th IREP Bulk Power Systems Dynamics and Control Symposium, Espinho, Portugal, August 27-Sep 1, 2017.
- Brooks, A.E., Manur, A., Venkataramanan, G. “Energy Modeling of Aggregated Community Scale Residential Microgrids.” IEEE International Conference on Sustainable Green Buildings and Communities, Chennai, India, December 18-20, 2016.
- Barron-Gafford, G.A., Minor, R.L., Allen N.A., Cronin, A.D., Brooks, A.E., Pavao-Zuckerman M.A. “The Photovoltaic Heat Island Effect: Large solar power plants increase local temperatures.” Scientific Reports, 6 (2016): 35070.
- Lai, T., Brooks, A.E., Potter, B.G., Simmons-Potter, K. “Environmental Aging in Polycrystalline-Si Photovoltaic Modules: Comparison of Chamber-Based Accelerated Degradation Studies with Field-Test Data.” SPIE Optics + Photonics for Sustainable Energy, San Diego, CA, August 9-13, 2015.
- Brooks, A.E., Cormode, D., Cronin, A.D., Kam-Lum, E., “PV System Power Loss and Module Damage due to Partial Shade and Bypass Diode Removal Depends on Cell Behavior in Reverse Bias.” 42nd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, New Orleans, LA, June 14-19, 2015.
- Brooks, A.E. “Solar Energy: Photovoltaics.” Future Energy, 2nd Ed. Ed Trevor Letcher. New York: Elsevier, 2014. 383-404. Print.
- Lonij, V.P.A., Brooks, A.E., Cronin, A.D., Leuthold, M., Koch, K. “Intra-hour forecasts of solar power production using measurements from a network of irradiance sensors.” Solar Energy, Vol. 97 (Nov 2013): 58-66. Print.
- Brooks, A.E., Allen, N., Lonij, V.P.A., Cronin, A.D. “Evaluation of Four Geomembrane-Mounted PV Systems for Land Reclamation in Southern Arizona.” Journal of Energy and Power Engineering, Vol. 7 No. 5 (May 2013): 834-840. Print.
Like all ambitious young adults who first taste the independence of college, I signed up for as many extra-curricular activities as I could cram into my schedule, plus a couple more. Among the best things I did were hanging out with Tucson youth via Camp Wildcat and EON Youth Lounge. I loved the excuses to play and run around as if I too was a kid. When I could eek out an hour of downtime — which was rare, as demonstrated by the underwatered, scraggly mint plant in the window — I would enjoy reading on the sun-basked couch with my cat Mia for all of 5 minutes before passing out for a long nap.
After my over-committed undergraduate life came to a close, the joys of Arizona really opened up to me. I enjoyed year-round climbing and backpacking with friends and my dog Geryon, named for the Greek red-winged monster. (Don't be fooled by neither this majestic picture of her at Weaver's Needle, nor her epic name — she spends most of her days sleeping on the couch.) A few friends and I spent every spring backpacking the Grand Canyon, determined to walk every trail. Though we got close, our last trip was stunted by a dried water source and subsequent bout with dehydration. We hiked out without incident, but it left a lasting impression.
Perhaps one day I will return to complete that trail, but I have since packed up for the greener, snow laden pastures of Wisconsin. Having retreated from a decade of loving and battling the dangers of a desert mountain playground, I found myself in need of another high-risk sport. Luckily, Wisconsinites have embraced this crazy thing called winter biking. Biking in negative degree weather is only worth the discomfort because at the end of your trip there is the promise of fried cheese and draft beer, both of which are god's gift to the Midwest.
Another successful tactic for passing the long winters is self-deprecating humor. For several years I have had the reluctant honor to serve as head editor of my lab's satirical paper, The WEMPECKER. Which is hilarious to all of us in the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium, and probably falls flat for everyone else who is not.
Here are ten of the best things:
- The best chocolate is 73% dark.
- The best olives are Castelvetrano.
- The best dance is New England style Contra.
- The best hot sauce is Poblano Salsa Ranchera.
- The best nights end with sightings of the Northern Lights.
- The best way to take a nap is on a mountainside in a hammock.
- The best thing to do for your co-workers is to join your local labor union.
- I am still on the hunt for the best cheese curds in Madison. If you have an opinion on this matter please let me know.
- The best whiskey is Chattanooga 1816. I am less willing to debate this matter than the aforementioned cheese curds, though always happy to try new things.
- The best stories are retellings of Greek mythology. I suggest Jeanette Winterson's Weight, Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red (after which I named my dog), and Madeline Miller's Circe. With luck, any future children I have will arrive with names already given. Otherwise they may expect names such as Ariadne and Deadalus.