Marija Ilic Heads Smart Grid Research


March 12, 2009

ECE Professor Marija Ilic is leading a team of researchers dedicated to powering up a new smart energy grid project for the future.

Ilic, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and public policy, is director of the university's new Electric Energy Systems Group which is developing research programs, curriculum and outreach initiatives to improve the nation's $26 billion electric energy system.

"I am proud to be working in this growing field of energy and electricity research. I see it as a tremendous opportunity to reach across traditional disciplines and organizational boundaries and work toward shaping a new generation of leaders," said Ilic, who was recently named the Control of Future Electricity Network Operations Chair in the Department of Technology at TU Delft University in the Netherlands.

Ed Schlesinger, ECE department head, praised Ilic for her leading-edge research in modernizing a variety of electric energy systems.

"Our department currently offers unique courses essential for future concepts in electric energy systems by identifying clear links across physical systems and embedded intelligence necessary to make these systems secure, reliable and efficient. Professor Ilic has been instrumental in developing these new courses," Schlesinger said.

Ilic is developing intricate software-based tools to make the electric power grid more economical to operate and safer to use.

While Ilic has been working in the area for a number of years, her efforts are in line with the Obama administration's latest announcement that the new economic stimulus plan contains $11 billion for development of what has become known in science and engineering circles as the "smart grid."

"The smart grid will do for the delivery of electric power what the Internet did for the movement of vast amounts of information," said Ilic, a keynote speaker March 10-11 at the fifth annual Carnegie Mellon Conference on the Electricity Industry.

Ilic argues that a smart grid would use computer, sensor and communications technology on a house-by-house and business-to-business basis to stem the flow of electricity to devices when not in use.

"A smart grid also could eliminate some of the widespread problems like blackouts that have plagued many of the nation's aging systems and caused economic hardship for users," Ilic said.

"For a clean energy future, we need a smart grid and increased use of renewable energy. At Carnegie Mellon, we are looking beyond what we have today and we are creating curriculum to train future energy managers," Ilic said.

The EESG team also has launched an industry consortium on Dynamic Monitoring and Decision Systems as a possible independent place for catalyzing transformation of today's electric power grids into future electric energy systems, offering customers more choice and more cost-effective and sustainable technologies.

Read more about the university's energy curriculum.

Source: Chriss Swaney Carnegie Mellon News

Maria Ilic, Professor of ECE and EPP

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Marija Ilic