Wei Du named interim co‑director of Advanced Grid Institute

Closeup of Wei Du.
Wei Du

Wei Du has been appointed interim co-director of the Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Advanced Grid Institute (AGI). Du is an electrical engineer at PNNL and has a joint appointment in the WSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. He will assume the role on an interim basis while Jeff Dagle, PNNL AGI co-director, undertakes a temporary assignment for the Department of Energy (DOE).

“I am excited to work closely with Wei Du and cultivate meaningful collaborations,” said WSU AGI co-director Anamika Dubey. “Wei’s demonstrated expertise in power systems research and success in leading research partnerships highlights the importance of his new role at AGI. I am honored to welcome him as the new interim co-director, and I am confident that his leadership will strengthen our collaborative efforts and drive transformative advancements.”

The AGI is comprised of scientists, faculty, and students from both WSU and PNNL. The institute is creating and implementing a national-scale simulation platform and data framework to enable advanced grid controls and operations for reliable power systems of the future.

“I am thrilled to join the Advanced Grid Institute and work with Anamika Dubey to develop innovative research collaborations by bringing together the extraordinary strengths and capabilities of both PNNL and WSU,” said Du. “I look forward to continuing to bring the resources of a national laboratory to WSU students in support of developing the skills needed for them to become the next generation of power system engineers — ready for a decarbonized power grid.”

I look forward to continuing to bring the resources of a national laboratory to WSU students in support of developing the skills needed for them to become the next generation of power system engineers — ready for a decarbonized power grid.

Wei Du, interim co-director
Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Advanced Grid Institute

Du has worked with industry partners and DOE clients. One of his major accomplishments was leading the development of a grid-forming inverter model called REGFM_A1. The model was designed to allow utility operators to test how to safely add new inverter-based resources, or renewable power sources like wind and solar, to the electric grid. It was recently adopted by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), a non-profit corporation that assures reliable electricity in 14 western U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and northern Baja, Mexico. WECC’s adoption of the model means that REGMF_A1 is included in all major commercial simulation tools used by utilities in North America and other parts of the world.

Du’s experience will be valuable to AGI. “I look forward to working with Wei Du as he continues to build relationships with people at WSU and further advance the vision of the AGI,” said Michael Wolcott, Regents Professor and interim vice president for research at WSU.

The WSU-PNNL Advanced Grid Institute is a joint research collaboration created in May 2018 to promote the research and evolution of advanced grid modeling to support planning and operations of complex power systems of the future and its workforce.

The institute combines complementary expertise from PNNL and WSU in the fields of advanced grid modeling, wide-area measurements, power electronics modeling and control, demand response, energy storage, grid architecture, cybersecurity, and power system reliability research. The goal is to enhance the resilience of the power grid to withstand all hazards, including natural disasters and malicious threats.

“With a demonstrated track record of providing thought leadership to the Department of Energy and building programs and partnerships that benefit all stakeholders, Wei is ideally suited to grow new programs and capabilities that drive our collective Institute strategy to deliver regional and national impact,” said Jud Virden, associate laboratory director for Energy and Environment at PNNL.

Researchers within AGI are working to meet emerging industry requirements while delivering scientific and engineering results that would not be possible by either institution acting alone.

“As a research engineer with experience in both power electronics and power systems, my goal is to accelerate the renewable integration and enhance grid stability through innovative control design and modeling of inverter-based resources,” said Du. “I am very excited to participate in AGI’s cutting-edge research, help further initiatives, and develop new programs for the joint institute.”

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