Power Engineering Program

The Electrical & Computer Engineering Department at Portland State University currently has two areas focused on electric power: The Power Engineering Group and the Laboratory for Magnetomechanical Energy Conversion & Control. The ECE Department is currently seeking to fill a new, third position within our power engineering program. More information about the position description can be found here.

Overview


The Power Engineering Group's (PEG) research addresses the engineering challenges to the electric power system that arise from large-scale societal issues such as natural disasters, climate change, and cyber-physical security threats. The PEG develops technology and methods to coordinate the dispatch of distributed loads, generators, and energy storage devices to provide utility services that improve power system reliability and facilitate the integration of renewable energy resources.

Faculty


Dr. Robert Bass holds a Ph.D from the University of Virginia. He joined the PSU Electrical & Computer Engineering department in 2011. Dr. Bass has extensive experience developing power engineering education programs, power engineering curricula, and hands-on engineering education laboratories. He established and directs the power engineering BS EE and MS ECE programs at PSU.  Dr. Bass specializes in teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on electric power, electromechanical energy conversion, distributed energy resources, industrial controls, and power systems analysis. He has taught over 150 engineering courses, and he has developed thirty-five power-related courses, including many focused on renewable energy engineering.  Dr. Bass has developed a variety of teaching laboratories, with foci on electric power and machines, photovoltaics, electrochemistry and fuel cells, industrial controls, thermal and fluid systems, power systems protection, power systems analysis and power electronics.  Dr. Bass has raised over $5M in funding specifically for power engineering program development. He has been successful at attracting funding from a wide variety of sources, including federal, state, industry, and private gifts.

Research and Funding


PEG research students develop engineering solutions that address challenges imposed on our rapidly-changing electric power system. The large-scale adoption of renewable generation in response to climate change requires the power system be operated in ways distinctly different from the past. And, the adoption of information technology and data science by utilities has provided new opportunities, and presented new challenges, to power systems operators.
PEG research students work in partnership with electric utility engineers to understand these challenges and to develop impactful engineering solutions.  

For example, PEG students are investigating the dispatchability of aggregated residential-scale assets in response to utility ancillary service requests.  Students conduct performance evaluations on residential assets, including water heaters and battery-inverter systems.  They evaluate the dispatchability of these assets in response service request, such as frequency response, frequency regulation, peak demand mitigation, and EIM RTM.  PEG students are helping the industry understand how residential assets can be used to provide ancillary services.  The PEG is interested in understanding asset characteristics, such as response lags, ramp rates, energy availability, methods execution, etc., of residential-scale assets in response to these ancillary service requests.  By dispatching ancillary services through residential load control, a utility can include a higher proportion of renewable resources within its generation portfolio.

The Power Engineering Group has received research funding from Portland General Electric, Bonneville Power Administration, Electric Power Research Institute, QualityLogic, Oregon Torrefaction, US DOE SBIR, Oregon BEST, and the Oregon Talent Council.


Students 


Graduates of the power engineering program at PSU have gone on to work at many different companies and organizations. Some examples of where our alumni work are Avangrid, Black & Veatch, Bonneville Power Administration, Brown & Kyser, Cooper Bussman, Daimler, DNV GL, Eaton, Elcon, Energy Trust of Oregon, Glumac, HDR, Inspec, Intel, Interface, Jacobs, Leidos, Pacific Northwest National Labs, Pacificorp, PAE, Portland General Electric, POWER Engineers, Powin Energy, Siemens, Stantec, US ACE Hydro Design Center, and Vestas. 

Below is a subset of Power Engineering Group MS Thesis graduates, with graduation date, current employer, thesis title and link to the PSU library:

Annie Clarke, MS 2018
POWER Engineers
Electric Water Heater Modeling for Distributed Energy Resource Aggregation and Control

Tylor Slay, MS 2018
PSU PhD Candidate
Adoption of an Internet of Things Framework for Distributed Energy Resource Coordination and Control

Crystal Eppinger, MS 2017
Pacific Northwest National Labs
Impact Analysis of Increased Dispatchable Resources on a Utility Feeder in OpenDSS

Joseph Wilson, MS 2016
Portland General Electric
A Utility-Scale Deployment Project of Behind-the-Meter Energy Storage for Use in Ancillary Services, Energy Resiliency, Grid Infrastructure Investment Deferment, and Demand-Response Integration

Emily Barrett, MS 2016
Pacific Northwest National Labs
The Investigation and Optimization of a Two-Heat-Pump System Incorporating Thermal Storage for Shaping Residential Heating Load

Jordan Landford, MS 2016
POWER Engineers
Event Detection Using Correlation within Arrays of Streaming PMU Data

Osama Mansour, MS 2016
Premium Services General Trading & Contracting
Determining the Power and Energy Capacity of a Battery Energy Storage System Utilizing a Smoothing Feeder Profile to Accommodate High Photovoltaic Penetration on a Distribution Feeder

Nicole Woodman, MS 2015
Intel Corp.
Time-Variant Load Models of Electric Vehicle Chargers

Jennifer Ferris, MS 2014
Bonneville Power Administration
The Design, Implementation, Assessment, and Evaluation of a Power Systems Protection Laboratory Curriculum

Shauna Jensen, MS 2014
Portland General Electric
Design and Prototyping of an Antenna-Coupled Cryotron