NSF grant received by UND's Ranganathan and Kaabouch to improve the reliability of nation's power grid


David L. Dodds

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Engineering & Mines


The National Science Foundation has granted $215,622 to University of North Dakota Assistant Professor Prakash Ranganathan and UND Associate Professor Naima Kaabouch, both in the Electrical Engineering Department of the College of Engineering & Mines, to research how to improve the reliability of the nation’s power grid and decrease costly blackouts.

“When a malfunction occurs in an electricity-provisioning system, it is important to quickly diagnose the problem and take corrective actions to prevent outages,” Ranganathan said. “This project will support fundamental research to enhance both the proactive and reactive reliable operation of the smart grid without costly infrastructure investments.”

Specifically, he added, the two-year project is intended to show how controlling the smart grid's topology -- or network of interconnections -- can enhance the grid's reliability.

In addition, this research will develop procedures required to find the most reliable grid topology in response to changes in energy demand. Thus, the primary societal impact of this research is the prevention of unexpected blackouts, which account for approximately $90 billion in losses each year for U.S. businesses and consumers.

The UND team also hopes to address unpredictability and grid reliability through new topological-driven methods that perform well when the grid is broken into smaller regions. Applications of interest include generator and load-scheduling applications in energy management and service systems, pricing and revenue-management problems, and inventory control.

In addition to advancing the knowledge for next-generation smart grids, this project is expected to result in a new, holistic framework for monitoring, understanding and managing energy resources and smart-grid environments.