Interview With Vijay Sood
An Interview with Vijay Sood, the Director of the Power Workers Union Smart Grid and EV Research Laboratory and the PI for the Panasonic-UOIT Microgrid.
1. What is your name, what have you studied and where have you worked in the past 3 years?
Dr. Vijay K. Sood, Ph.D. from University of Bradford, UK, 1977. For the past 3 years, I am working as an Associate Professor at Ontario Tech University, Oshawa, ON. Canada.
2. How did you get involved with the Smart Grid as a field of the power systems research and/or industry? How would you define the Smart Grid and what are your thoughts and aspirations on what the Smart Grid will be shaped to be in the next 10 years?
I am the Principal Investigator (PI) at Ontario Tech University for its Microgrid installation, which is one of the largest such installations in Canada. This was built by Panasonic as the main supplier with financial support from the Ontario Smart Grid Fund (in 2015). I have been involved with HVDC and FACTS systems since the 1980s. With the increased penetration of renewables into the grid, the future grid will be re-shaped into a smart grid to provide improved flexibility, efficiency and reliability.
3. What have been the 2 articles that you have liked from the IEEE SG eNewsletter in the past 3 years?
I picked the following two papers that I have liked in the past 3 years. They are both concerned with smart energy self-sufficient buildings of the future. This is a topic that I have recently become interested in.
This paper coins a new terminology: Buildings as Batteries which elegantly combines technical insights from power grid electrical engineering, commercial building energy modeling and mechanical engineering controls, and utility rate design analysis. This technique expands the usefulness of the thermal mass (building concrete and drywall) as a universally available energy storage medium that enables highly efficient cooling at low electricity prices pre-occupancy that, in turn, displaces less efficient cooling at high electricity prices on hot summer afternoons.
This paper discusses an energy self-sufficient building that can produce its own energy without the need for an external source. In this way, buildings can be considered as an autonomous and selfsufficient unit without transmission and distribution infrastructures. To maximize energy production in the building, renewable energy technologies can be installed on the rooftop, facades, and windows. The only limitations to attaining such a self-sufficient building are the low efficiency of renewable energy technologies and the high price of batteries.
4. Do you believe that the applications and the paradigms that have emerged from the Smart Grid research and industrial developments face challenges in their deployment? What would you identify as the most critical short term and long term challenges among them?
The paradigms that have emerged from the Smart Grid research and industrial developments will face challenges in their deployment as the grid was originally developed as a largely radial system operating at constant voltage and constant frequency and with one-way flow of power. The Smart Grid of the future will integrate renewable energy sources which provide intermittent and variable energy and require power electronic converters to connect to the grid. These new sources lack inertia which is required for the maintenance of the frequency of the grid. This will cause stability and operational problems for the grid.
The short term challenges that need addressing are the seamless disconnection/connection of microgrids with the grid when disturbances occur in the grid.
The long term challenges will emerge due to the integration of new renewable energy sources that lack inertia which is required for the maintenance of the frequency of the grid. This will cause stability and operational problems for the grid.
5. How can we effectively communicate concepts, objectives, applications and paradigms that have emerged from the Smart Grid R&D to utilities and industry?
We can effectively communicate concepts, objectives, applications and paradigms that have emerged from the Smart Grid R&D to utilities and industry via technical forums, webinars, and technical publications. The IEEE is at the fore-front of these technologies and it must continually meet the challenges of the future from other competing bodies.
6. What do you think is one of the Smart Grid applications or paradigms that you find very valuable and believe could serve as an answer to the challenges faced by the power system industries of the present and the future?
The microgrid is likely to emerge as the leading architecture to incorporate renewable generation into the grid in a distributed way. This offers a reliable and flexible architecture to meet the challenges faced by the grid of the future. However, there are still challenges that this architecture faces such as protection and control issues. The requirement for a transfer switch that is fast, reliable and low cost is still there. Issues tied to the seamless transfer between islanded and grid-connected modes of operation are still to be resolved.
This article edited by Mehmet Cintuglu