Rajiv K. Varma
Ph.D. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, India (1988)
B.Tech. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, India (1980)
Dr. Rajiv K. Varma is a Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at The University of Western Ontario (UWO). He held the position of “Hydro One Chair in Power Systems Engineering” established by Hydro One Networks Inc. - the largest transmission and distribution utility in Ontario, Canada, from 2012 until the culmination of the Chair program in 2015.
Some of his key career highlights are as below:
Dr. Varma became a “Fellow of Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE)” in June 2021. He also received the “IEEE PES Nari Hingorani FACTS Award” in 2021, which is the most prestigious award in Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS) technology. He is the 2nd Canadian to receive this award in its 22-year history. He has also received 13 teaching excellence awards both at the University and Faculty level at UWO.
Dr. Varma has recently authored a book on “Smart Solar PV Inverters with Advanced Grid Support Functionalities” published by Wiley - IEEE Press, USA, in Dec. 2021. This is the first book providing a comprehensive coverage of smart inverters for solar PV systems which are the most rapidly growing renewable energy systems, worldwide.
Dr. Varma is the principal co-author of the IEEE Press/Wiley book on “Thyristor-Based FACTS Controllers for Electrical Transmission Systems”, published in 2002, and subsequently published in Chinese and Southeast Asian editions
Dr. Varma is presently the Chair of the IEEE Power and Energy Society “HVDC and FACTS Subcommittee”. He served as the Chair of the “IEEE Working Group on HVDC and FACTS Bibliography” during 2004-2019, and is also active on several other IEEE Working Groups. He was additionally the Editor of “IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery” during 2003-08
He was the team-lead for the first ever IEEE Tutorial on “Smart Inverters for Distributed Generators” in IEEE PES Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Conference in 2016 and in the PES General Meetings in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He co-delivered the IEEE Substations Committee Tutorial on “Static Var Compensators (SVC)” 6 times in different IEEE PES General Meetings and PES T&D Conferences. He has also co-delivered several Tutorials (IEEE sponsored), Courses and Workshops on Smart Inverters, FACTS, SVC and High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) in different countries including Canada, US, Colombia, Nepal, and India.
RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
With the escalating global climate crisis, there is a critical need for increasing the integration of renewable energy systems in power transmission and distribution systems to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Dr. Varma’s research focuses on developing novel technologies to enhance the grid-integration of renewable solar PV, wind, and energy storage systems. His research further aims to develop innovative cost-effective smart inverter functionalities on these renewable energy systems such that they can become key players in enhancing the overall stability of AC and DC power systems.
Dr. Varma was the UWO Project Lead in the $6.125 Million project on “Large-Scale Photovoltaic Solar Power Integration in Transmission and Distribution Networks”, together with the University of Waterloo, funded by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Ontario Power Authority (OPA, now IESO), a transmission utility - Hydro One, two local distribution utilities - Bluewater Power Corporation and London Hydro, and a major solar farm developer - First Solar. He subsequently led two multi-university (UWO - Waterloo - Ryerson) projects, amounting to $2 Million, on “Enhancing Grid Connectivity of Renewables through Innovative Controls of PV Solar Farms” and “Smart Management of Short Circuit Currents from Distributed Generators”. These projects were supported by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the above industry partners, Testforce, German Solar and Kaco.
Dr. Varma has developed a set of innovative technologies of utilizing solar PV farms in the NIGHTTIME and also daytime during critical system needs for providing multiple benefits for both transmission and distribution systems. These technologies transform a solar farm into a dynamic reactive power compensator – STATCOM (a FACTS Controller), named as PV-STATCOM.
These novel technologies on existing solar farms can provide a 24/7 functionality of STATCOM at less than 10% of the cost of new installations of STATCOM for same benefits. The PV-STATCOM technologies can bring significant savings for utilities and also initiate new potential revenue-making opportunities for solar farms for providing several grid support functions. For this technology, 23 patents have been granted in US, Canada, Europe, China, and India; while 9 patents are pending in US, Canada, Europe, China and India.
Dr. Varma’s PV-STATCOM technology both for NIGHTTIME and daytime applications was successfully installed and demonstrated for the first time in Canada and worldwide on December 13, 2016 in the utility network of Bluewater Power Distribution Corporation, in Sarnia, Ontario. This event was reported as front page stories in Sarnia Observer, Sarnia Journal and Blackburn News.
Rajiv Varma obtained his B.Tech. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, India, in 1980 and 1988, respectively. He started his academic career as Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1989. He was awarded the Government of India BOYSCAST Young Scientist Fellowship in 1992-93 to conduct research on FACTS at UWO, London, ON, Canada. He continued as Visiting Assistant Professor at UWO until December 1994. He returned to IIT Kanpur and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1997. He was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship of U.S. Educational Foundation in India (USEFI) to travel to United States in 1998 and do research in HVDC Transmission and FACTS at Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Dept. of Energy, at Portland, Oregon. He became Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 2001 prior to joining UWO in December 2001. Dr. Varma has also held Adjunct Professor positions at University of Waterloo and Ryerson University, Toronto.