2019 Externship Report Out

Chris looking at a computer
Selena Connealy October 03, 2019

Modeling and simulation tools are essential for researchers as they seek ways to integrate variable renewable sources of energy, like wind, into the electricity grid. Recently, NM SMART Grid Center graduate student, P. Christopher Scott, spent time as an extern at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to learn about power system simulation. The INL Power Systems team, including Dr. Mayank Panwar, mentored Scott as he built computer models in Simulink, ran them on an Opal-RT real-time digital simulator, and modeled and simulated a power system in the IEEE 14-bus system.

Scott described the value of a real-time digital simulator, both to the field and to his own research goals:

The purpose of a real-time digital simulator is to provide validation testing in real-time of a computer model of a power system. Such validation is cost-effective in that faults in the model can be detected and rectified prior to the construction of a physical prototype, particularly with today's increasingly complex smart grids. Knowledge of how to do this is of great immediate benefit to me because I will eventually need to determine how my own wind energy capture project is to be integrated into a microgrid.

Overall, this experience, which was possible thanks to the generosity of NM EPSCoR, gave me a new set of skills that will be of insurmountable importance as I move forward with my career in renewable energy. Even if my focus turns out not to be on the power systems aspect, it is nonetheless important to understand how my designs will incorporate into a larger grid for optimization purposes. Proficiency with a real-time simulator such as Opal-RT is essential to this.

Read Scott’s full extern report. Scott is a master’s degree student with Dr. Svetlana Poroseva, UNM Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, and a member of the NM SMART Grid Center Architecture Research Group.


Now accepting extern applications for the Spring 2020 semester!

NM SMART Grid Center Externships are research opportunities for graduate students to spend time at a national lab, industry or research facility, government agency, or higher education institution other than their degree-granting institution. Externship activities may include conducting research at a host institution, participating in training, or taking courses at the host institution. Externship support is available to graduate students with existing assistantships with the NM SMART Grid Center. Learn more about NM SMART Grid Center Externships.