Power Systems Engineering Research Center

Research Program

PSERC’s comprehensive research program spans power markets, T&D technologies and power systems to create a modern electric energy infrastructure that enables a low-carbon economy that serves society.

Click here for descriptions of the current research projects

Power Markets Research  (see Thematic Grouping)

Markets research focuses on market design, analysis, and mechanisms within the context of the electric power system. Current research topics include implications of greenhouse gas policy options for power systems, coupling wind generation with controllable load and storage, demand response options for integrating renewable energy, and interactions of energy and environmental policies in a transmission constrained electric power market.

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Power Systems Research (see Thematic Grouping)

Systems research seeks ways to increase use, efficiency and reliability of increasingly complex and dynamic power systems. Current research topics are transmission corridors to support renewable energy resources, integration of storage devices with renewable, special protection schemes, visualization using PMU data, synchrophasor application framework, on-line security assessment, and model and data interoperability in a smart grid.

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Transmission and Distribution Technologies Research (see Thematic Grouping)

This research improves performance of T&D systems by finding new applications for innovative technologies. Current research projects include new substation designs, communication requirements for a smart grid, PHEV’s for energy storage, smart grid implications for distribution engineering, interoperability of PMU’s and PMU-enabled intelligent electronic devices, and micro and nano dielectrics for utility applications.

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Research Stem Committees

Each research stem has a committee that organizes its research activities. Industrial members join researchers as stem committee members to set research directions, organize projects, and facilitate high quality research. The current stem committee chairs are:

  • Markets: Shmuel Oren, Chair, University of California-Berkeley; Tongxin Zheng, Vice-Chair, ISO-NE.
  • Systems: Venkataramana Ajjarapu, Iowa State University; Baj Agrawal, Vice Chair, Arizona Public Service
  • Transmission and Distribution Technologies: Ward Jewell, Wichita State University; Jeff Fleeman, Vice Chair, American Electric Power Company

Leveraged Research Projects

Through collaboration, PSERC conducts research that leverages the industrial support it receives from its members. Here are two examples.

  • Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions (CERTS), formed in 1998 to research, develop and commercialize new methods, tools and technologies to protect and enhance the reliability of the U.S. electric power system. CERTS is conducting research supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Independence, and by the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research Program. PSERC faculty are working with researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and several energy businesses.
  • By working with industry under the NSF Research Centers - Small Firms Collaborative R&D initiative, and with funding and advice from PSERC's industrial members, PSERC researchers formed a research team to develop more accurate ways to compute the maximum power that can be transferred in power systems and to quickly estimate how this maximum power can be increased by adjusting power system controls. One result of the project is an interactive calculator and tutorial that fosters better understanding of limits to power transfers.