ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

Smart Grid Demand Response:
Alleviating Power System Stress

Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute (ARI) is joining with Dominion Virginia Power and three small high technology businesses to develop smart grid technology, with a $600,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Partnership for Innovation (PFI) grant. The collaboration’s goal is to alleviate electrical power system stress conditions by offering customer choices for efficient use of electricity at all levels.

Saifur Rahman, the Joseph Loring Professor of ECE, serves as principal investigator. The three businesses include Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Inc., Electronic Instrumentation and Technology, Innovative Wireless Technologies, and Dominion Virginia Power.

Together, these groups will create a platform that will “enable a diverse and smart demand response and energy conservation applications ranging from households to utility power grid,” says Rahman. They will design hardware, including a smart power management system and sensor control devices for appliances, as well as optimization-control algorithms.

According to Rahman, “the platform spans a number of engineering subfields, from power system operation and control to wireless technology, along with applied optimization in engineering and engineering system design,” making it ideal for this kind of collaboration. “The platform provides an environment where academic researchers work closely with industry engineers to address the issue of efficient operation of the electric power system through grid-level load monitoring and control, and sensing and controlling the customer load for a very efficient system operation.”

The platform will be tested on a set of homes and businesses in Arlington County, Virginia.