College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

EPRC Student Scoop: Yanda Jiang stabilizes the power grid


EPRC Student Scoop: Yanda Jiang stabilizes the power grid

For power grids around the world, stability and security are a necessity. Yanda Jiang, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) at Iowa State University (ISU), is studying this exact topic in the Electric Power Research Center (EPRC) at Iowa State.

Specifically in Colorado, Jiang just finished a project with Xcel energy testing certain responses of a future power grid. These tests measure the security of the grid in multiple situations, under different levels of energy — specifically renewable energy. This project will help workers understand the power grid at a higher level.

“I just finished a project with Xcel energy company last semester,” Jiang said. “It aims to test the dynamic response of the future power grid in Colorado state under different integration levels of renewable energy. With its result, Xcel people could figure out system response under different levels of renewable integration and how to improve system stability when some undesirable scenarios come out.”

Throughout this project, Jiang has gained many skills. He learned how to use PSLF software (a power systems software), gained knowledge about various types of models and reviewed content of the dynamic state analysis. 

Jiang was drawn to EPRC after reading a textbook written by Vijay Vittal, a professor now at Arizona State University who used to be a part of ECpE at Iowa State — still occasionally visiting and hosting distinguished lectures.

“The first time I heard about ISU was while reading a textbook written by Vijjay Vittal in college, who was in Coover for a long time before,” Jiang said. “I heard about EPRC when I applied for a Ph.D. and checked those professors’ backgrounds.”

After checking the backgrounds of professors in EPRC, Jiang knew it would be the perfect fit for him. His major professor is Dr. James McCalley, and Jiang says McCalley’s work ethic is always inspiring him.

“I joined Dr. Mccalley’s group in 2017,” Jiang said. “He is a super nice professor, with a great understanding of power engineering and a very righteous character. He is the only one I have ever seen who could start to work at 6 a.m. almost every weekday, all the time. I feel deeply appreciative of his guidance and patience.”

Along with McCalley, Jiang says that Dr. Anne Kimber, Director of EPRC, is another motivating role model in his life.

“Dr. Kimber helped me a lot in understanding the power market,” Jiang said. “She is pretty knowledgeable and patient towards students. Every year, she would organize a conference to make a connection between power group experts and industrial people. Thanks to this valuable chance, we could know more about the practical experience of industrial people and their interests. Dr. Kimber also hosts seminars for us every week to introduce some state-of-the-art research in power engineering, which is a great chance to broaden our eyesight.”

Jiang says both McCalley and Kimber give EPRC students great help and support, using their own behavior to set a good model for all students.

With Jiang’s own drive to secure the grid and a team full of support, his research is consistently improving the safety and stability of the power grid.


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