Energy Systems Research Center

The Energy Systems Research Center is one of the largest university research centers focused on electric power systems in the United States.

The ESRC has a unique power system simulation laboratory that has a physical-based scaled-down electrical power system with generation, transmission, and distribution systems. This simulation laboratory has a complete real-time SCADA system and a state-of-the-art energy management system as well as microprocessor based protective relay systems. It has been used by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The laboratory facility has also been used for automated protective relay testing. Such testing has proven beneficial to several companies for evaluating new microprocessor based relays. The ESRC has hosted three relay testing workshops that included representation from all of the important relay manufacturers in the world. The ESRC has developed a Blackstart Simulation Laboratory to train power system dispatchers and power plant operators. The ESRC has an active research program sponsored mostly by the utility industry worldwide.

Researchers at the ESRC have developed very close relationships with companies from Mexico, Saudi Arabia, China, Taiwan, South American Countries, Korea, Japan, African Countries, Russia, and European Countries for the purpose of training and research. In 1998, the ESRC conducted a significant amount of research for the Synchronous Interconnection Committee, an idea originating from the Public Utility Commission of Texas. The purpose of the SIC was to study the technical feasibility for interconnecting ERCOT with the Southwest Power Pool.

The ESRC enjoys an international reputation and its founder and former director, Mo-Shing Chen, is an internationally recognized expert in power systems. Electrical engineering Professor Wei-Jen Lee replaced Chen as ESRC director in 2003. Since 1971, more than 100 graduate students completed their Ph.D. degrees and the ESRC has the distinction of graduating the first Ph.D. from UTA in 1971. Many of these graduates have distinguished themselves in academia and industry. More than 200 students have completed the MSEE degree with an emphasis in power systems. For 36 years, ESRC has conducted the most successful and longest running annual two-week short course for engineers in the power systems industry. More than 1,500 professionals representing approximately 400 companies worldwide have attended.

It is important to mention a number of significant companies located worldwide with which the ESRC has conducted intensive research activity. They include the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con-Ed), TXU, Reliant Energy - HL&P, Taiwan Power Company (Taiwan), Saudi Electricity Company (Saudi Arabia), Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI-Japan), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI-USA), and Electric Power Research Institute of China.

Some of the recent research activity includes: SIC for PUCT (previously mentioned), Arcing Fault Detection for Con-Ed, Very Short Term Load Forecasting for TXU, Security Analysis for Tai Power, IPP-Utility Interconnection Study for Formosa Plastics Co., Blackstart Training Simulator for TXU (previously mentioned), and Neural Network Based price forecasting for Reliant Energy - HL&P.

For the past 30 years, the Power Engineering Society (PES) of the IEEE has rated ESRC as one of the best programs in power systems in the United States. For example, in 1986 the PES conducted a survey of U.S. universities to determine the top twenty-five power programs. The resulting survey was divided into three categories: top ten, middle ten, and bottom five. The universities were not ranked within categories but simply listed in alphabetic order. The ESRC was recognized as being in the top ten in the nation, ahead of Auburn Univ., Univ. of California at Berkeley, MIT, Michigan Tech. Univ., Univ. of Minnesota, Univ. of Missouri - Rolla, New Mexico State Univ., Texas A&M Univ., Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ., Univ. of Washington (middle group of ten), Arizona State Univ., California Polytechnic State Univ. - San Luis Obispo, Univ. of Florida, Univ. of Missouri - Columbia, and the Univ. of Texas at Austin (last group of five). There are other IEEE groups that have rated the ESRC as the one of the best both nationally and internationally.

The ESRC hosted the first International Symposium on World Energy in September 1998. The last Symposium was held in October 2000, in Monterrey, Mexico. The ESRC played an important role together with the hosts from Mexico. The theme of this symposium focused on potential interconnections with Mexico.


  • Wei-Jen Lee, Ph.D., Professor and Center Director
  • David A. Wetz, Ph.D.
  • Ali Davoudi, Ph.D.
  • William E. Dillon, Ph.D.
  • Rasool Kenarangui, Ph.D.
  • Robert Spangler, Ph.D.
  • Raymond Shoults, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus
  • Mo-Shing Chen, Ph.D., P.E., Professor Emeritus

Current Research

Regenerative Hydrogen Bromine Fuel Cell System for Energy Storage

Wind and solar power can supply a significant amount of electrical energy. However, because of their intermittent nature, their potential can be fully exploited only if a suitable energy system is provided. The H2-Br2 system is attractive because of its fast reaction kinetics which translates to high electric-to-electric energy conversion efficiency and high power density, high energy storage capacity, and reliability.

The objective of this project is to generate the enabling science and create the technologies needed to develop the H2-Br2 fuel cell system into a cost-effective, efficient, and reliable energy storage system for wind and solar. The project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and the research team involves members from four institutions located across the country (CA, TX, KS and TN).

Our part of study will establish correlations between the amount of energy storage capacities and required response for the desired operations based on the wind quality. Furthermore, energy storage usage for reducing the transient variations and improving the dynamic stability of wind farms will also be studied.

Study and Evaluation on Power System of Point Comfort Plant of Formosa Plastics Co.

The operation conditions of Point Comfort Plant of Formosa Plastics Co. have changed in recent years. It is important to re-evaluate the system configuration and make necessary adjustment to maintain the system reliability and service continuity.

Power programs such as Load flow, Transient Stability, and EMTP programs are used to perform necessary studies and Monitoring equipment is installed at key locations to record critical information for post fault analysis and performance improvement.

Research task includes: Performing load flow analysis with possible operation conditions of existing system. Evaluating system performance under system contingency. Short circuit analysis to evaluate the fault current and margin of circuit breakers. Studying the feasible reconfigurations of power systems to avoid serious voltage drop after fault. Verifying system parameters and adjust them to improve the damping factor. Evaluating and providing suggestions on relay settings and coordination. Updating the Dynamic Performance Monitoring System (DPMS)

Three phase fault dynamic analysis on inner power grid of Formosa Plastic Co. in Point Comfort Plant

Studying on excitation system of synchronous generator based on full controlled devices, current researches showed that through a proper control scheme, the novel excitation system can effectively enhance the system damping through another channel by injecting or absorbing reactive power, compared to the traditional excitation system.

Studied on a three phase fault happened in inner grid of Formosa Plastics Co. in Point Comfort Plant, reproducing the fault wave forms, analyzing the parameters impact on critical time through PSS/E.

Developed a frequency converter with double PWM topology, and responsible for the design of the main circuit parameters, schematic diagram, PCB, control panel circuit and main program using TMS28335 form TI, etc. The device is now running well in an oil field, and the field operation result has shown a good energy saving ratio.

Developed an energy feedback device used in commercial elevator, and responsible for the design of the main circuit parameters, schematic diagram, PCB, main program using TMS2812 form TI, etc. The device is now running well in an office building elevator, and the field operation result has shown a good energy saving ratio.

MicroGrids Control and Operation

MicroGrid Testbed Project is sponsored by Department of Energy, USA. A MicroGrid was built in UTA campus. Wind Turbines, Solar Panels, Fuel Cell and Diesel Generator are used as Distributed Generation Source. Also the MicroGrid is capable to connect to Utility Grid so it can be used for both grid-tie and off-grid modes. A smart control system is developed based on National Instruments’ Compact RIO to improve the reliability and stability of the MG. Also, smart SCADA system and protection system are applied to the MG.

The cost for integrating large-scale wind farm and the maximum penetration of wind power studying on Taipower system

Power companies have been developing the Renewable Energy to reduce traditional fossil-fuel generation. Furthermore, Fukushima nuclear power plant incident was happen on March 11, 2011. The tsunami was not only hit the Japan, it also gave a very big issue to the energy supply sector. So, Taiwan Government published new energy policy and renewable energy (wind farm, solar power...) planning quickly. The capacity of renewable energy will be increasing.

Renewable energy doesn’t consume fossil fuel, but these kinds of units are intermittent resources; it has a lot of uncertainty. Power company has to operate other controllable units to regulating the unstable energy. So, the cost for integrating large-scale wind farm, solar power has to be studied. Then understanding of the impact of large-scale renewable energy on power system and the searching of accommodating measures are very important. And, to assessing the maximum penetration of renewable energy and control ability also has to be developed.

Assessing method and procedure are studying to simulate the above issues could give the system planning department and control room information to improve the planning and security the power system.

Adaptive Design for Controllability of a System of Plug-In Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is one of the modern electric car technologies. The number of PHEV has increased significantly in metro city area. However, there is one drawback of electric car that is the long period for recharging the energy storage. DC Charging level 3 for PHEV has been discussed so far for short period PHEV charging in public are. This level of charging need high power and energy performance so the infrastructure for PHEV Charging station must be considered

This project presents an integration of typical electricity grid and renewable energy resources (RESs) including wind and PV Energy systems for PHEV Charging Station in DFW area. Since the energy from these two RESs are inconsistencies so battery would plays a significant role for performing this system efficiently and in high stability. Therefore, market prices, wind energy, PV energy, as well as battery characteristics need to be obtained to optimize strategies of this integration system dynamic programming approach. Finally, the optimization strategies, the important characteristics, the location and the distribution of PHEV Charging stations will be proposed.

Microgrid Operation and Control

It presents challenges for conventional electric power system accepting high penetration level of renewable energy resources due to their intermittence nature. With its technological and regulatory innovation of scale and structure, microgrid can be a good entity for accommodating high penetration level of renewable energy resources. By optimally allocate the generation resources and schedule the operation of energy storage device, both economic and environmental effects of microgrid could be optimized.

The operation of microgrid involves renewable resources generation forecasting techniques, power system economic modeling and optimization techniques. The research of microgrid operation and control in ESRC is not only focused the optimization for unit commitment and economic dispatch, but also includes optimal power market mechanism design and infrastructure planning.

Using Available Customer Smart Meter Load Readings to Determine Other Non-metered Customers’ Loads

Electricity is an essential part of modern life. In our homes we use it for lighting, running appliances and electronics, and often for heating and cooling. Most consumers do not think much about their electricity until a power outage, or when they get a high utility bill. By better understanding our electricity use, it is easier to change our behavior to use less – which can save money on power bills.

Smart meters will enable new types of electricity pricing in the future. This includes time-of-use rates, with different prices for electricity based on the time of day or week, making electricity charges higher in peak periods and lower in off-peak periods. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is an emerging technology evolving from Automated Meter Reading (AMR). Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. is implementing an AMI system to enable the company and consumers to gather and utilize metered data in a more intelligent and cost effective manner. AMI is a key step towards future Smart Electricity Grids.

Algorithms are developed to utilize data collected from AMI system to provide accurate customer daily load profiling for load estimation and network demand reconciliation to improve the efficiency and security of the underground network of Con Edison systems.

Research and Development (Partial List)

  • Effects of Unbalanced Voltage on the Operation Performance of Three-Phase Submersible Pumps
  • Micro-grids for Smart Grid
  • EPS/AIS Collaborative Research: Adaptive Design for Controllability of a System of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
  • Using Smart Meter Readings to Identify the Consumption Pattern of Major Appliances in the Single Family Residential Homes
  • EFRI-RESTOR: Regenerative Hydrogen-Bromine Fuel Cell System for Energy Storage
  • Enhance Generation Parameters Verification Process for ERCOT System
  • Guidelines for Implementing Dynamic Thermal Circuit Rating (DTCR) in EMS
  • System Analysis
    • Transient/Dynamic Stability Analysis
    • Voltage Stability Analysis and Reactive Resource Planning
    • Utility Deregulation
    • Distribution System Analysis
    • Special Protection System
  • Hardware DevelopmentIntegrated High Speed Intelligent Utility Tie Unit for Disbursed/Renewable Generation Facilities
    • Monitoring and Control
    • Protective Relay
    • Flexible AC Transmission System
  • Multi-area Unit Commitment and Economic Dispatch with Market Operation Components
  • Multi-layer Dynamic Equivalent System Stability and Security Analysis Package
  • Multiple Function Customer Demand and Budget Management System
  • Neural Network On-line Corona and Arcing Monitoring System
  • Neural Network Based Demand Forecasting and Optimal Hydrogen Production Plan for a Hydrogen Filling Station
  • Neural Network Wind Generation Capacity Forecasting
  • Protection System Design for Hydroelectric Generation Facility
  • Real-time Control of Radial and Tangential Forces in Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor Drives