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Clarkson University's Jie Li Receives NSF CAREER Award

Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering Jie Li has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Jie LiHer proposal, "A Hierarchical Restructuring Operation Framework for Sustainable and Resilient Electricity Distribution Systems," earned the special distinction from the NSF.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is an NSF-wide activity that offers the Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organization.

Li's proposal will investigate new approaches to comprehensively model distinct characteristics of emerging distribution systems, and explore optimal operation strategies for enhancing the sustainability and resiliency of distribution systems. Both physical feasibility and financial viability of individual autonomic entities are key to the successful implementation of distribution systems restructuring and retail electricity markets.

Specifically, a two-tier hierarchical restructuring framework is proposed for guiding the optimal operation and effective coordination of distribution systems and community microgrids/net metering projects, with special focus on investigating fundamental market clearing mechanisms and efficient computation tools.

With an increased penetration of community microgrids, community net metering projects, and distributed energy resources, electric distribution systems are transforming from traditionally passive radial networks operated by a single utility to more sophisticated active networked topologies with heterogeneous autonomic entities. Consequently, such a transformation in distribution systems has demanded for reshaping the way electricity services are delivered and distribution systems are designed and managed.

Results from this research could facilitate the optimal design of future fully-liberalized retail distribution markets and related energy policies, and guide the active participation of microplayer-like electricity prosumers in such distribution-level markets.

The proposed research efforts will be complemented by an education plan to increase public awareness and understanding on the complexity of distribution systems restructuring, and to prepare the next generation workforce with needed skills to meet the power industry demand.

The project will address these challenges through integrated research and educational activities: exploring market operation and pricing mechanisms for distribution system operators and community projects operators, as well as their coordination based on comprehensive unbalanced three-phase alternating current optimal power flow models and efficient computation methods; exploring knowledge and skill requirements for the sustainable operation and effective restructuring of emerging distribution systems; and investigating education and training needs for retooling existing power engineering programs and curricula.

Li received her bachelor of science degree in electrical and computer engineering and master of science degree in systems engineering from Xi'an Jiaotong University in China, and her doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before joining Clarkson in 2014, she was with General Electric Energy Management. From 2006 to 2008, she was with IBM Research – China.

Li's teaching interests are in alternate energy systems, power system reliability and planning, deregulated power systems, and economics and security of restructured power markets.

Her research spans the areas of secure, economic, reliable operation and restructuring of electric power systems; energy efficiency and demand response of large-scale internet data centers; bidding strategy analysis for electric power market participants; and forecasting technology applications in power systems.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

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[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Kelly Chezum, VP for External Relations, at 315-268-4483 or]

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