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The smart grid and demands of a power-hungry public

By Costa Maragos Posted: September 21, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Sharing their ideas at the symposium will be professors and students from Electronic Systems Engineering in the faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. (l-r) Kai Zeng, masters student;  Dr. Raman Paranjape, professor; Dr. Ifran Al-Anbagi, assistant professor; and Benjamin Ulasi, masters student.
Sharing their ideas at the symposium will be professors and students from Electronic Systems Engineering in the faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. (l-r) Kai Zeng, masters student; Dr. Raman Paranjape, professor; Dr. Ifran Al-Anbagi, assistant professor; and Benjamin Ulasi, masters student. Photo by Rae Graham – U of R Photography.

Flick a switch at home and you instantly expect power. Even with the occasional power outage, we expect a reliable source of electricity, day or night.

However, utilities face new challenges that threaten the reliable delivery of power to the people.

A symposium on Friday September 23 at the U of R, brings together academics and industry with the common goal of solutions that will ensure a stable source of power.

“The Smart Grid and the Evolution of the Power System,” is presented by the South Saskatchewan Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

“Our power grid is changing as we add more strain to the system. How we deal with these increasing and altering demands will have an enormous impact on all of us,” says Dr. Raman Paranjape, professor of electronics systems engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Paranjape is one of the conference organizers and will be one of the speakers.

“What I want to do is highlight how important the evolution of the smart grid is. It will affect our daily lives in all kinds of ways,” says Paranjape.

A smart grid uses digital communications technology to manage our power usage. Such systems can be used to better manage our energy use.

However, as Paranjape notes, this ‘smart’ technology is faced with challenges, whether they come from increased usage of electric vehicles and their voracious appetite for battery power to blackouts due to extreme weather events.

Smart grids have the potential to be smart enough to handle the extra stresses, but with digital communications arise cyber-security matters.

The keynote speaker will address cyber security. Dr. Deepa Kundur is Professor and Director of the Centre for Power and Information in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto.

Other speakers will address power issues, including wireless sensor networks, vehicle-to-grid systems, and the reliability of Canadian and international electric utilities.

The symposium is a collaborative event, featuring speakers from the University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan and SaskPower. The event will also allow U of R students the opportunity to spend time with industry experts.
The symposium is open to the public.

Event:     The Smart Grid and the Evolution of the Power System
Date:       Friday, September 23
Time:      10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: University of Regina – Education Building – Room ED 114.