Reaching Higher Renewable penetration Drives AUSI Intern Lindy Guernsey

Reaching Higher Renewable penetration Drives AUSI Intern Lindy Guernsey

Lindy Guernsey is an electrical engineering and honors undergraduate student at UAF taking advantage of the opportunity to apply her skills to modeling the electric grid and generation infrastructure in Kotzebue, Alaska, for her ACEP internship. 

Her project focuses on retrieving data from Kotzebue Electric Association’s infrastructure through fieldwork and, in turn, creating GIS maps and electrical models with QGis, PowerFactory and HOMER software programs. 

During a May visit to Kotzebue, Guernsey and project mentors Phylicia Cicilio, Dayne Broderson and Mariko Shirazi explored the utility infrastructure. KEA project engineer Matt Bergan joined them. 

“Investigating and documenting the existing infrastructure rapidly increased my understanding of power systems. Kotzebue has wind, solar and diesel resources right now and is interested in exploring other potential opportunities,” said Guernsey.

Kotzebue is a remote hub community of the Alaska Arctic region, and KEA is an Alaskan microgrid pioneer that has been integrating renewable energy systems since the 1990s. Now, KEA is not just experimenting but planning to go diesel-off and replace as much diesel fuel generation as they can with renewable generation. 

Importing diesel fuel to the remote community once per summer locks in the price of the fuel — which in a time of volatile international fuel prices can keep the prices high long after the prices elsewhere have eased. Delivery prices are variable and expensive in remote Alaska. Thus, energy modeling to enable increased renewable penetration is important to KEA to help it serve the community with reliable and reasonably priced electricity.

This summer, Guernsey hopes to assist in creating models and analysis to inform KEA’s journey in increasing renewable penetration while maintaining a reliable grid. She hopes to finish this summer with a greater understanding of software used in the power systems field of electrical engineering and an enhanced understanding of the opportunities within the field in Alaska.

This work is funded by the Alaska Regional Collaboration for Technology Innovation and Commercialization program, the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. “Development and validation of models to assess dynamic response of converter-dominated power systems across multiple spatio-temporal scales” is funded by the DOE Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Electricity, and Office of Electricity and Energy Efficiency, under award number DE-SC00020281. 

For more information on this project, please contact Phylicia Cicilio, Dayne Broderson or Mariko Shirazi.

The ACEP Undergraduate Student Intern program is generously funded by a grant from the Office of Naval Research.

For more information on the AUSI program and the various projects, please contact Jeff Fisher at and visit


Photo courtesy of Lindy Guernsey.