Exelon PowerLabs

Miriam P. Sanders, VP Technical Activities

We live in exciting times for the power and energy industry: come be a part of it.

Technical activities are the heart of the Power and Energy Society (PES) organization, where valuable standards, guides and technical reports are developed. These activities are accomplished in one or more of the 20 technical committees that make up the Technical Council of PES. In 2016, the committees went through a restructuring that allowed us to realign the activities to better fit the needs of the industry. The committees cover subject matter from cybersecurity to microgrids to big data and everything in between in the power system. We are a very diverse group of engineers with members from all over the world. We hail from utilities, manufacturers, governmental entities, consultants and academia, and we bring to the technical activities a wide range of experience, from newly graduated to many years in the industry. New participants are always welcomed—just determine where your interest lies and attend one of the meetings. The following is some highlights of some of our committees and activities they are currently undertaking.

One of our newest committees, Smart Buildings, Load and Customer Systems, is developing a standard on transactive energy titled “Meshing Smart Grid Interoperability Standards to Enable Transactive Energy Networks.” Another new committee, Energy Storage and Stationary Battery, is investigating energy storage options of lithium, sodium and flow batteries as well as flywheels.

Smart Grid is the interest of many of the committees, from the Power System Relaying and Control Committee to the Transmission and Distribution Committee and, of course, the Power Systems Communications and Cybersecurity Committee.

If new technology and intelligent grid is where your interests lie, the Intelligent Grid and Emerging Technologies Coordinating Committee would welcome your input, as they bring together the industry on these matters.

The Energy Development and Power Generation Committee is working on laboratory infrastructures for Distributed Energy Resources (DER) application and testing.

Renewables are also a big interest as the Power System Dynamic Performance Committee is beginning research into the impact stability definitions and characterization of dynamic behavior have in systems with high penetration of power electronic-interfaced technologies and power system restoration with renewable energy sources.

And speaking of renewals, we have a coordinating committee to help manage the efforts on wind and solar. The Wind and Solar Power Coordinating Committee coordinates work with system operations with high penetrations of distributed energy resources; low short-circuit ratio issues with high penetrations of wind/solar; energy systems integration, including not only electricity but also thermal and transportation sectors; and low-inertia power systems and inertial response from renewables.

With the advent of renewable energy initiatives around the world, the Electric Machinery Committee’s new technology focus has shifted toward the understanding and mitigation of the impact of these fluctuating power sources on both machine and grid performance.

The Power System Operations, Planning and Economics Committee is looking at the significant penetration of stochastic generation resources, the operational issues and opportunities related to smart-grid technologies, as well as market design challenges to support reliable and efficient system operation.

If you have an interest in mitigation of geomagnetic disturbances and geomagnetic-induced currents, consider attending the Transformers Committee meeting. They are also investigating bullet-proof transformers and other physical security measures, as well as SF6 gas as a dielectric fluid in transformers.

Figure 1 TF on Switching Transients Induced by Transformer/Breaker Interaction PC57.142

The Switchgear Committee has a solid dielectric task force (SDTF) that is exploring materials, application, and environmental conditions and tests for new insulation systems in which insulation is molded as an integral element of an assembly that includes the interrupting or switching device, such as for an outdoor distribution recloser.

Figure 2 Switchgear Main Committee meeting in Pittsburgh 2016, Ted Burse and Michael Wactor

The Substations Committee is investigating Voltage Source Converters and HEMP, high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, and IEMI, Intentional Electromagnetic Interference.

“Big data” is in the Analytic Methods for Power Systems Committee under a new subcommittee to delve into some technical problems that require such large files or arrays of data that data management becomes as critical to success as the underlying technical problem. Conversely, techniques developed to solve one problem may find application to others.

The Energy Storage and Stationary Battery Committee will be developing several new standards relative to batteries and other energy storage and could use your help if you have the interest.

The Marine Systems Coordinating Committee coordinates with other committees of the PES, other IEEE societies and committees, other technical organizations, and government agencies responsible for the application of power and energy at sea. The areas of coordination include electric ships and marine platforms; marine wind, wave, and tidal systems; marine transmission and distribution; marine grounding and safety; and related environmental impact areas.

Other committees include:

Intelligent Grid and Emerging Technology Coordinating Committee

Nuclear Power Engineering Committee

Surge Protective Devices Committee

Power System Instrumentation and Measurements Committee

The committees also review the papers submitted for the annual General Meeting and the biennial Transmission and Distribution Meeting technical conferences. There are usually around 1600 papers submitted every year, with only half of them being accepted. The committees review the papers for acceptance and presentation at the meetings.

Technical committee schedules can be found here:


More details about the individual Technical Committees can be found here:


Another important aspect of the committees is development of tutorials. Just this past year we have had tutorials developed on standards that are important to the industry. These included the following:

    • IEEE Std. 1547, Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems
    • IEEE Std. C62.22, Guide for the Application of Metal-Oxide Surge Arresters for Alternating-Current Systems
    • IEEE Std. 998, Guide for Direct Lightning Stroke Shielding of Substations
    • IEEE Std. C37-122.4, Guide for Application and User Guide for Gas-Insulated Transmission Lines (GIL), Rated 72.5 kV and Above
    • IEEE Std. C37.122.6, IEEE Recommended Practice for the Interface of New Gas-Insulated Equipment in Existing Gas-Insulated Substations Rated above 52 kV
    • IEEE Std. C37.242, Guide for Synchronization, Calibration, Testing, and Installation of Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) for Power System Protection and Control

These tutorials have been offered in conferences outside of the US within the past year and are slated to be offered at several locations this year.

For me personally, I have been involved with the Power Systems Relaying and Control Committee for over 30 years and the Power System Communication and Cybersecurity Committee for over 20 years. At the time I started I did not know how closely related the two would become. The experience is one I recommend for anyone. As an inexperienced engineer, you are able to work alongside some of the most experienced and greatest minds in the industry. You can learn and contribute as much or as little as you want. I have had the pleasure of serving as a working group member and chair, a subcommittee chair and a committee chair. Everyone along the way can contribute to your professional and personal growth. As an experienced engineer, you have the opportunity to help shape the future engineers in the industry by mentoring and tutoring those not as seasoned as you. I was very fortunate in my career to have several mentors along the way. From colleagues who were co-workers as well as ones from other manufacturers, power utilities, and consultants. Everyone can help along the way. One in particular who was very instrumental in my IEEE development and preceded me in almost every PES office I have held was Rick Taylor. Rick passed away this year on St. Patrick’s Day, following diagnosis of a very sad disease, Pick’s Dementia. Rick was a very intelligent and personable guy. The industry will miss his smile and positive attitude, as I will too.  Rick’s contribution to PES and the technical committees lives on in today’s format of the General Meeting in the summer and the Joint Technical Committee Meeting every January.

Our work within PES to develop standards, guides, and tutorials; review papers; exchange technology; attend meetings; and to generally contribute is purely voluntary. It is our privilege and responsibility to help shape our industry for the future, to advance technology for humanity, and to provide power to the masses. As one of my colleagues said to me, “The power system is the thin veneer between a civil society and mass chaos.”

We live in exciting times for the power and energy industry: come be a part of it.

Miriam P. Sanders, PE
VP Technical Activities, IEEE PES Governing Board
Chair, Technical Council 2015-2017