I commenced my doctoral research in October 2011 focusing on the economics of wind power and large scale energy storage at Dublin Energy Lab, Dublin Institute of Technology, in Ireland. In July 2013, following a rigorous application and interview process, I was thrilled to be awarded the prestigious Fulbright-Enterprise Ireland Student Award. The award allows me to spend six months in New York (aka, the Big Apple) collaborating with the Center for Life Cycle Analysis (CLCA) at Columbia University. Initially, I formed a relationship with the CLCA back in February 2013. My Fulbright grant allows me to strengthen this relationship and to refine my research methodology with influential experts in energy related fields.
My colleagues at the CLCA are very interested in my research, and in particular, the synergies of compressed air energy storage (CAES), wind and solar generation in the New York State power system. This interest has provided us with an opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas around the integration of renewable energy sources in the Irish and New York State power systems. Our weekly group meetings generate engaging discussions, and we hope to collaborate on improved modelling of CAES in the existing PLEXOS and Matlab models. PLEXOS and Matlab are integrated energy software tools which enable me to simulate and optimize future energy policy scenarios for both the Irish and New York State power systems.
As a Fulbrighter, one often gets invited to various events. One such event was the launch of Christine Kinealy’s new book Charity and the Great Hunger in Ireland: The Kindness of Strangers at the Consul General of Ireland’s residence in Lower Manhattan where I met playwrights, actors and academics, including other Fulbrighters. I also attended Columbia University’s Homecoming game at the Baker Athletics Complex. Homecoming is the tradition of welcoming back a university’s football team after they have played their away games as part of the Ivy League. There was a carnival atmosphere during the game with alumni, students, parents and friends, gathering to cheer on the Columbia Lions. Unfortunately, the Lions were beaten 21–7 by the University of Pennsylvania’s Quakers (but the weather was nice, as you can see from the photo above).