A noted expert in energy technology research will appear at West Virginia University on Friday, Jan. 27 to discuss a new initiative aimed at improving the nation’s electrical grid – the complex system of networks that carries electricity to consumers throughout America.

WVU, through the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s Regional University Alliance, is part of a new team formed to conduct collaborative research in power electronics. Gregory Reed, associate director of the Center for Energy and a professor in the Swanson School of Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh, is team leader.

During his visit to WVU, Reed will elaborate on how WVU researchers will be working with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, Virginia Tech and Carnegie Mellon University on improving the nation’s “grid.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the “grid” is comprised of networks that carry electricity from the plants where it is generated to consumers. The grid includes transmission wires, substations, transformers, switches—all of the technologies and devices that provide electricity to homes and businesses. Improvements in the national electricity grid will make it more efficient, help contain electricity costs to consumers, and can reduce the need for new transmission lines. These improvements are collectively known as the “Smart Grid.”

WVU’s Interim Director for the WVU Advanced Energy Initiative, Joe Kozuch, explained that the University is interested in research leading to improvements in the grid as part of its obligation to serve the state and region. He said that capacity, security, and efficiency issues with the current grid present a challenge for future economic growth and the reliability of electricity delivery.

“Our electricity system has problems that affect everyone,” Kozuch said. “Because of its weaknesses, the grid makes us vulnerable to attack and could even pose risks to our health and safety. Unless deliberate action is taken to improve our electricity grid, we will likely see more inefficiency in the generation and transmission of electricity and unnecessary power outages. We are interested in helping develop answers to these challenges as active members of the RUA research team addressing grid issues.”

Research and development activities to advance grid functionality and reliability include development of innovative, next-generation technologies and tools for transmission, distribution, energy storage, power electronics, cybersecurity and consumer interfaces, like smart meters, with the grid.

The NETL Regional University Alliance identified work on improvements to the grid as one of its priority activities known as strategic growth areas.

WVU is home to the Advanced Power and Electricity Research Center, or APERC. APERC is a university-wide research center that includes power, mechanical and communications engineers; computer scientists; mathematicians; and economists who address electric power systems research areas that are important to the state and nation. APERC focuses on innovations in system-wide control using operational and economic data to allow companies to be profitable in a competitive market. APERC is working with Mon Power in a grid improvement demonstration project in the Morgantown area.

Reed, the scientist who will visit to discuss upcoming research, has more than 25 years of industry and academic experience in the electric power and energy sector. Prior to his appointment at Pitt, Reed served in various engineering, research and development, management, and executive positions in industry, including senior vice president of the Power System Planning and Management Group at KEMA, Inc., an international company headquartered in The Netherlands providing power and energy consulting, technology implementation, and market knowledge expertise.

He served in various management and executive roles at Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc. in Warrendale, Pa., and Kobe, Japan, including as vice president of power systems marketing & technology development. While pursuing his Ph.D. at Pitt, he served in research and development roles for both the ABB Corporate Research Center in Baden, Switzerland and the ABB Transmission Technology Institute in Raleigh N.C., as well as for the Westinghouse Electric Co. Advanced Electromechanical Systems Division in Pittsburgh. Reed began his career as an electric power systems engineer at the Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Inc. in New York City.

Reed is an active member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society and Power Electronics Society and the American Society for Engineering Education. He is currently a member of its governing board, serving as vice president of membership and image. He also serves as the education working group chair for its Engineering Workforce Collaborative, is an associate editor of its Letters on Power Electronics, and is a member of the IEEE-USA Energy Policy Committee.

Reed’s visit will be the second on-campus appearance by a grid expert in January. Jerry Jackson, leader and research director for the Smart Grid Research Consortium in Orlando, Fla., presented a seminar on “Smart Grid Developments and Utility/Vendor R&D Interests” with a particular focus on his experience in working with private industries in support of smart grid research and development.

The visits are sponsored by, the NRCCE, WVU Advanced Energy Initiative, the WVU Regional Research institute, and the WVU ETown Program – a research and development effort at WVU linking projects that demonstrate innovations in energy production and use; sustainable environments and implementation; and Smart Grid and Microgrid technologies.

WVU’s participation in the NETL Regional University Alliance is coordinated through the University’s Advanced Energy Initiative.



CONTACT: Rusty Russell, WVU Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development
304.293.5037, rusty.russell@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.