Director’s Message

Dr. Deepak Divan

I am pleased to welcome you to the website of the Georgia Tech Center for Distributed Energy (CDE). The electricity infrastructure has been the engine that has driven the world economy for over 100 years, and represents the most complex system built by man. While it started as a collection of disconnected and distributed microgrids, it quickly evolved into a centralized planned system, with overriding objectives of reliable and low-cost power for all. The system has served us well.

However, our needs as a society are rapidly changing, driven by diverse drivers, such as increased renewable energy penetration, active consumer participation in energy markets, a move by utilities to further improve their operations and asset utilization, and rapid growth of energy needs in emerging markets. The original centralized paradigm is being challenged to deliver on these new requirements, and a more distributed energy system will be required, with millions of smart and connected energy devices at the grid edge, devices that can assist in meeting local and system level needs. This is not a simple asset management and optimization issue, because the devices interact with the grid and with each other in real-time through a physical network. As such it is not just the Internet of Things, or a Distributed Energy Resource Management issue, rather it requires new technologies related to secure real-time control of autonomous distributed energy assets, which should not ‘fight’ each other or cause grid instability – the Internet of Distributed Energy Things (IDET). It needs a change in thinking about how communications, data management and system control are to be achieved. It needs a re-visioning of what the energy system of the future will look like, and how the transition from the existing system will be achieved – realistically and affordably.

The Center for Distributed Energy is focused on understanding the fundamental questions that need to be answered as the journey from our present centralized energy infrastructure is made to a massively distributed smart energy infrastructure. An interdisciplinary approach is being taken, including power systems, power electronics, controls, communications, data management, analytics, cybersecurity, GIS, policies and economics. CDE will work closely with utilities, industry, national labs and global scientific leaders to develop solutions collaboratively with a view to achieving rapid adoption in global markets.

We are excited by the opportunity to develop and translate solutions that may define the new energy infrastructure of tomorrow, a system that we believe will be increasingly smart and distributed. Please contact us at CDE Info for further information on joining us as a student, a researcher, scientific partner or industrial partner.

Prof Deepak Divan, Director