Varma receives 2021 IEEE PES Nari Hingorani FACTS Award

Western Engineering News | November 22, 2021

Dr. Rajiv K. Varma, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has recently received the 2021 IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Nari Hingorani FACTS Award “for advancing FACTS controllers application in education, research, and professional society, and for developing an innovative STATCOM technology utilizing PV solar farms”.

This is the most prestigious award in Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS) technology, and Dr. Varma is the second Canadian to receive this award in its 22-year history.

“I am truly delighted and profoundly humbled at hearing the news of this award in the name of Dr. Nari Hingorani who is the inventor of FACTS technology,” said Varma. “Dr. Hingorani has not just been an inspiration but an idol for me in my career in FACTS.”

Varma has a rich experience of 32 years in teaching and research in Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS), and grid integration of solar and wind power systems.

FACTS Controllers are extensively used in electric power transmission systems worldwide to enhance system stability. The global FACTS business including Static Var Compensators (SVC) and STATCOM is over $ 1.25 Billion annually.

Varma was the principal coauthor of the IEEE Press/Wiley book on “Thyristor-Based FACTS Controllers for Electrical Transmission Systems,published in 2002. This book has been translated into Chinese and also has a Southeast Asian edition.

He is presently the Chair of the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) “HVDC and FACTS Subcommittee.” He was also the Chair of the “IEEE Working Group on HVDC and FACTS Bibliography” from 2004 to 2019 and the editor of “IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery” during 2003–2008. He has actively contributed to the development of IEEE Standard 1547-2018 and IEEE Standard P2800.

Varma was the team lead for the first-ever IEEE Tutorial on “Smart Inverters for Distributed Generators” in IEEE PES T&D Conference in 2016 and in PES General Meetings in 2017, 2018, and 2019. He co-delivered the IEEE Substations Committee Tutorial on “Static Var Compensator (SVC)” six times at different IEEE PES T&D Conferences and PES General Meetings during 2005–2012.

He has also delivered several tutorials, courses, workshops, and webinars on FACTS, SVC, HVDC, smart inverters, and solar/wind integration in different countries including the United States, Canada, Colombia, Nepal, and India for utility engineers, system planners, and researchers.

Varma has developed a set of innovative technologies of utilizing PV solar farms in the night and day as a dynamic reactive power compensator – STATCOM (a FACTS controller), which he named as PV-STATCOM. These novel PV-STATCOM technologies on existing solar farms can provide a 24/7 functionality of a STATCOM at ten-times lower cost for the same benefits. The PV-STATCOM technology both for night and day applications was successfully installed and demonstrated for the first time in Canada, and perhaps in the world, on 13th December 2016 in the utility network of Bluewater Power Distribution Corporation, in Sarnia, Ontario.

Varma holds 23 granted patents and 9 pending patents on this technology in the United States, Canada, Europe, China, and India. For this research, he also received the Prize Paper Award from IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) in 2012, and the First Place Poster Award in the 7th International IRED Conference in 2016.

He has led several research grants, including multi-university multi-utility projects, on grid integration of solar PV systems and FACTS, totaling over $11 million, and has also published more than 180 papers in international journals and conferences.