Science Challenges for the Power System of the 21st Century

May 11, 2015
EE Conference Room
Speaker: Dr. Janusz Bialek, Director, Center for Energy Systems, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech)


Power systems around the world are undergoing a period of unprecedented change. A typical 20th Century power system was characterized by unidirectional flow of power from a limited number of large controllable power stations to a highly predictable demand. Infrastructure utilization rates were low and energy storage was very limited. Generally controlling such a system was relatively straightforward as it was based around the principles of deterministic, hierarchical, and preventive control. Hence planning and operation of the system was quite conservative and therefore expensive.

On the other hand the emerging 21st Century power system is characterized by a very large number of distributed, uncontrollable and stochastic generators (both renewable ones and gas-powered as in Russia), poorly predictable demand (due to smart meters and demand-connected renewables), and increased penetration of energy storage. There are also strong interactions between power, gas and heat/cooling networks (especially in Russia because of wide utilization of district heating). To respond to those challenges, power system control is moving from deterministic, hierarchical and preventive to stochastic, distributed and corrective hence reducing conservative security margins. All that requires new tools and methodologies employing ICT and advanced mathematical methods, developing of which is the main goal of the newly-formed Skoltech Center for Energy Systems. The talk will illustrate the science challenges with a number of research projects undertaken by Skoltech faculty and associates.

Speaker Bio

Professor Janusz Bialek was born and educated in Poland. He held Chairs at Edinburgh University and Durham University (UK) before moving in August 2014 to Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) as Director of Skoltech Center for Energy Systems. Janusz has published widely on technical and economic integration of renewable generation in the power system, smart grids, preventing electricity blackouts, power markets and power system dynamics. He has been the Principal Investigator of a number of major research grants funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK) and industry. He is a Fellow of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE).

Hosted by Javad Lavaei.

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