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Matthew O'Connell

Researcher III-Electrical Engineering

Orcid ID

Matt O’Connell is a power systems modeler in the Grid Systems Analysis group with expertise in the Western United States interconnection. He is currently leading the modeling effort for a variety of activities designed to understand the energy-water nexus, and previous projects include studying flexibility and increased renewable penetration in California and the Western U.S. Matt has run just about every tool used by the Grid Systems Analysis group and was responsible for creating the Multi-Area Grid Metric Analyzer, an open-source tool for visualizing and analyzing a variety of power systems metrics. When not modeling power systems, you can find him wrenching on cars or whitewater kayaking.

Areas of Expertise

Unit commitment and dispatch production cost modeling
Electric grid planning and operation, especially in the WECC interconnection (Western US)
Data analysis and analysis code development

Research Interests

Impact of increased renewables on electric grid operation and architechture
 Optimizing electric generation and transmission efficiency


M.S. in mechanical engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 2014
Infrastructure of a more interconnected, higher renewable energy future compared to today

Prior Work Experience

Graduate Research Assistant, Powerhouse Energy Institute, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO (20122014)
Ballistic Armor R&D Engineer, DuPont, Wilmington, DE (20102012)

Featured Publications

Aaron Bloom, Aaron Townsend, David Palchak, Joshua Novacheck, Jack King, Clayton Barrows, Eduardo Ibanez, Matthew O'Connell, Gary Jordan, Billy Roberts, Caroline Draxl, and Kenny Gruchalla. 2016. Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study, NREL/TP-6A20-64472.

Jordan Macknick, Ella Zhou, Matthew O'Connell, and Gregory Brinkman. 2016. Water and Climate Impacts on Power System Operations: The Importance of Cooling Systems and Demand Response Measures, NREL/TP-6A20-66714.

Paul Denholm, Matthew O'Connell, Gregory Brinkman and Jennie Jorgenson. 2015. Overgeneration from Solar Energy in California: A Field Guide to the Duck Chart, NREL/TP-6A20-65023.

Paul Denholm, Joshua Novacheck, Jennie Jorgenson, and Matthew O'Connell. 2016. Impact of Flexibility Options on Grid Economic Carrying Capacity of Solar and Wind: Three Case Studies, NREL/TP-6A20-66854.

Paul Denholm, Lara Clark, and Matt O'Connell On the Path to SunShot: Emerging Issues and Challenges in Integrating High Levels of Solar into the Electrical Generation and Transmission System, NREL/TP-6A20-65800.

Full list of Matthew O'Connell's publications (NREL).