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Washington State University to Lead $30M International Partnership with India

September 11, 2017 / News & Updates

Washington State University announced last month that it will be the U.S. lead of a consortium of nationwide universities and industry partners in a five-year joint research project with India, Indian American Prof. Anurag Srivastava serving as the technical leader.

The $30 million project, announced recently in a university news release, aims at advancing the development of the power grid in both the U.S. and India.

The U.S. Department of Energy June 21 announced a $7.5 million grant to the U.S. team, which will be supplemented by $7.5 million from consortium members, according to the university news release.

The Indian Ministry of Science and Technology and industry partners will match the $15 million, bringing the total to $30 million.

The initiative, supported by the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, builds on the department’s efforts to foster the reliable, resilient, and secure delivery of electricity needed for U.S. national security, economic growth, and global leadership, according to a statement.

The pact also furthers DOE’s collaboration with India under the U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy, it said.

In addition to WSU, the U.S. team is comprised of researchers from MIT, Texas A&M, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Snohomish County Public Utility District in Everett, Wash.; AVISTA Utilities in Spokane, Wash.; Burns and McDonnell, ETAP Operation Technology Inc., National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, GE Grid Solutions in Seattle, Wash.; Clean Energy Storage Inc., ABB Inc. and the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The Indian team, led by the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, comprises IIT institutions in Delhi, Madras, Roorkee and Bhubaneswar; the Energy and Resources Institute, NTPC Energy Technology Alliance, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd., UP Power Corporation Limited, Power Grid Corporation of India, Customized Energy Solution in Pune, GE Global Research in Bangalore, Synergy Systems and Solutions in Gurgaon, Bangalore-based Mindteck, and Panasonic India.

“This new consortium demonstrates U.S. and Indian commitments to ensuring access to affordable and reliable energy in both countries,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in a statement. “We know that continued grid innovation will promote economic growth and energy security in the United States and India.”

Noel Schulz, professor in WSU’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, will serve as the principal investigator for the U.S. team. Anurag Srivastava, an associate professor at the EECS school, is the U.S. technical leader.

Additionally, three other WSU faculty members — Anjan Bose and Adam Hahn of EECS and Christine Horne of the sociology department — are involved in the project.

“WSU is excited to lead the U.S. team and collaborate with colleagues across this country and India to tackle the challenges of integrating renewables and storage for tomorrow’s distribution power systems,” Schulz said in the university release. “This project leverages the strengths of WSU’s Energy Systems Innovation Center and our power faculty and will provide national and international collaborations as we continue to advance our ‘Drive to 25’ to become one of the nation’s leading public research universities,” she said.

Srivastava told India-West in an email that the collaboration objectives are “to develop new algorithms and tools for adoption, integration and management of Distributed Energy Resources into electric distribution system as well as to demonstrate the developed concepts using testbeds and pilot field projects for better efficiency, reliability, economics and environmental impact at the system level.”

The associate professor added, “Tools need to be developed for better situational awareness and control of renewable energy sources and energy storage deployed within microgrids or in distribution system. Addressing socio-political issues, workforce development and cyber security is equally important in managing DERs at the Distribution Management System and will be addressed in this project.”

The new consortia brings together experts from academia, DOE national laboratories and industry in India and the U.S. to evolve and advance the future electric power distribution grid.

The effort will allow the continuing increase and integration of distributed energy resources penetration, such as solar, wind, storage, and electric vehicles, advancing the goal of creating a carbon-free electricity system, according to the release.

The project will allow experts to conduct research and deploy new smart grid and energy storage technologies that will modernize the grids of both nations to make them “smarter,” while increasing resilience and reliability.

Ultimately, Srivastava said, the goal is “To bridge the gap between smart grid, storage and renewable energy research and facilitate its subsequent adoption by utilities around the world in their distribution system operation and planning with ultimate goal to evolve the future distribution grid that will allow the continuing increase of Distributed Energy Resources penetration towards a carbon-free and efficient electricity system,” he told India-West.

The U.S. team will contribute its expertise and capabilities as India expands energy access to its remote areas, improves its grid reliability and resilience, and strengthens its energy security, the university statement said.

In turn, U.S. participants will gain insight from India’s grid modernization efforts as well as promote the access of researchers to India’s grid operational experience, it added.

Srivastava is an associate professor of electric power engineering at Washington State University and the director of the Smart Grid Demonstration and Research Investigation Lab.

In past years, he has worked in different capacity at the Réseau de transport d´électricité in France, RWTH Aachen University in Germany, the Idaho National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Lab, PJM Interconnection, Schweitzer Engineering Lab, GE Grid Solutions, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Mississippi State University in U.S., IIT Kanpur in India, as well as at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand.

He received his doctorate degree in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2005.

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