SASKATOON – University of Saskatchewan (U of S) electrical engineer Tony Chung has been awarded a $2.2-million industrial research chair that will help Canada achieve a safe, reliable and sustainable power grid that incorporates renewable energy sources.
The research will be funded with $1.14 million over five years from the federal Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and a matching $1.14 million over five years from SaskPower through a previously announced $2.5-million 10-year investment in Chung’s research program.
“This major partnered investment in smart grid research will ensure Canada is positioned as a leader in new ways of sustainably powering our future,” said Karen Chad, U of S vice-president research. “Our students will also gain the practical skills needed to understand and operate energy grids of the future, enabling them to gain employment and become leaders in this growing field in Canada and beyond.”
As the NSERC/SaskPower Senior Industrial Research Chair in Smart Grid Technologies, Chung will lead research that will address operational challenges facing many utilities across North America. In particular, it will support SaskPower’s ongoing work to modernize its power grid to meet a goal of 50 per cent generation capacity from renewable sources by 2030.
“Adding more renewable electricity options, such as wind and solar, is part of our plan to significantly reduce emissions,” said Guy Bruce, SaskPower vice-president of planning, environment and sustainable development. “This research will help us better understand the best way to integrate these options into our power grid as we plan the system of the future.”
Smart grids include a broad array of emerging technologies on sensing, communication, automation and modernizing that improve the reliability of existing power grids, enable greater use of renewable energy and prevent large-scale system blackouts. Evaluating these technologies and developing new ones to determine options for incorporating them into Saskatchewan’s power grid is a key goal of the project. The results will be shared with SaskPower and other electricity utilities.
Nineteen U of S students and research personnel will make up Chung’s team. They will work alongside Chung and other U of S faculty, SaskPower engineers, and experts at leading Canadian power research laboratories, while developing sought-after skills in power engineering.
Chung, a professor in the U of S College of Engineering, is an internationally recognized expert in smart grid technology and renewable energy. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a governing board member of the IEEE Power and Energy Society, and has held a SaskPower Research Chair in Power Systems Engineering since 2014.
“Dr. Chung’s partnership with SaskPower is an excellent example of an interdisciplinary research program working to create innovative and workable solutions to the pressing challenge of grid modernization,” said NSERC President B. Mario Pinto. “Research projects such as this will build Canada’s strength in clean energy technologies and help fulfill its commitment to Mission Innovation.”
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University of Saskatchewan
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