University of Minnesota
Institute of Technology
myU OneStop

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Toward Stronger, More Secure, and Smarter Grid

Professor S. Massoud Amin
Honeywell/H. W. Sweatt Chair in Technological Leadership   
Director, Technological Leadership Institute (TLI)   
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering   
University Distinguished Teaching Professor

University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55454 USA

Recent policies combined with potential for technological innovations and business opportunities,
have attracted a high level of interest in smart grids. The potential for a highly distributed system
with a high penetration of renewable sources that exhibit variable generation and non-dispatchability
poses opportunities and challenges.

From a broader view, global trends toward interconnectedness, privatization, deregulation, economic
development, accessibility of information, and the continued technical trend of rapidly advancing
information and telecommunication technologies all suggest that the complexity, interactivity, and
interdependence of infrastructure networks will continue to grow.

A major challenge is posed by the lack of a unified mathematical framework with robust tools for
modeling, simulation, control and optimization of time-critical operations in complex multi-
component and multi-scaled networks. Mathematical models of such complex systems are
typically vague (or may not even exist); moreover, existing and classical methods of solution are
either not available, or are not sufficiently powerful. From a strategic R&D viewpoint, the agility and
robustness/survivability of large-scale dynamic networks that face new and unanticipated operating
conditions is being addressed.

Virtually every crucial economic and social function depends on the secure, reliable operation of
energy, telecommunications, transportation, financial, and other infrastructures. How to retrofit and
engineer a stable, secure, resilient grid with large numbers of such unpredictable power sources?
What roles will assets optimization, increased efficiency, energy storage, advanced power electronics,
power quality, electrification of transportation, novel control algorithms, communications, cyber and
infrastructure security play in the grid of the future? What are the emerging technologies to enable new
products, services, and markets?

This presentation briefly provides an overview of smart grids, and focuses on addressing challenges
and opportunities ahead.