Ryan McNellis ’15


Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Project Title

Estimating the Effect of High Levels of Wind and Solar on the Transmission Grid

This past summer, I worked as a research intern in the Computational Stochastic Optimization and Learning (CASTLE) lab based in the Operations Research and Financial Eningeering (ORFE) department at Princeton University. My first project involved estimating the effect of high levels of wind and solar energy on the transmission grid. Although renewable energy sources have many environmental benefits, they are also harder to control; for example, an unexpectedly cloudy day may result in having an insufficient amount of solar energy to meet electricity demand. My research project was to estimate how much wind and solar energy the transmission grid can handle before the probability of demand shortages becomes too high. My second project entailed simulating realistic sample paths of offshore wind power. Both projects heavily utilized skills that I have learned through the Princeton ORFE curriculum, including Monte Carlo Simulation, Time Series analysis, and designing/calibrating mathematical models. This internship provided me with the invaluable opportunity to work on two research projects directly related to my chosen field of study and professional interests. I really enjoyed my experience at CASTLE Lab this summer; I found the projects both challenging and rewarding, and my work there solidified my interests in research and my commitment to graduate study and a possible PhD in Operations Research.

Internship Year


Project Category

Climate and Energy


CASTLE Labs, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ


Warren Powell, Professor, Operations Research and Financial Engineering