Ali Abur, professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering
In the next decade, power generation from renewable energy is expected to grow significantly in the U.S. But those resources—solar and wind—are concentrated in the Southwest and the Great Plains, while most of the country’s electricity is consumed across time zones on the coasts.
Matching the power supplied by these renewable sources with the remotely located loads, says Abur, requires a smart power grid that transmits power reliably and efficiently.
He and his team—part of an $18.5 million multi-partner research center—focus on creating next-generation software tools to monitor and control a power grid that incorporates the growing number of renewable sources.
They’re using sophisticated GPS technology, called Phasor Measurement Units, to capture synchronized real-time information about the system’s operating state, which in turn allows utility officials to make timely decisions so that widespread power outages can be avoided.