Rajiv Varma

Hydro One announces new research chair at Western University

Western Engineering News | May 29, 2012

Building on a decade-long relationship, Hydro One Networks Inc. continues to invest in teaching and research at Western University with the appointment of Rajiv K. Varma, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as the Hydro One Chair in Power Systems Engineering, effective January 1, 2012.

No stranger to working with Hydro One, Varma’s collaborations with the company dates back to 2007.

“It is indeed a great honour for me to be appointed the Hydro One Chair in Power Systems Engineering,” says Varma. “This chair gives me the opportunity to work even more closely with Hydro One; bringing the much-needed, real-world perspectives of the rapidly evolving power systems directly to our students.”

Varma’s research interests include grid integration of solar and wind power systems, Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS), power system stability, and computer simulation of power systems.

“Hydro One has been very supportive of my research projects,” explains Varma. “They are the leading funding contributor in my Ontario Centres of Excellence funded projects focused on the development of new renewable technologies.”

These projects include Innovative Distributed Generator Controls for Enhancement of Stable Transmission Capacity and Smart Management of Short Circuit Currents for Increasing Connectivity of Renewables in Ontario.

Varma is also the Western lead in a $6-million Ontario Centres of Excellence research project on Large-Scale Photovoltaic Solar Power Integration in Transmission and Distribution Networks. This project involves 16 faculty members from Western and the University of Waterloo. The research is supported by four major industries including Hydro One, London Hydro, Bluewater Power and First Solar in addition to Ontario Power Authority.

“Hydro One’s commitment to Western has allowed the university to focus on important research to provide reliable, efficient, safe and greener electrical transmission and distribution services.” says Andrew Hrymak, Dean of Western Engineering. “We are working together to ensure the changing energy needs of Ontarians are met well into the future.”

In January 2010, Hydro One provided funding of $2.5 million to Western in support of:

  • A Hydro One Chair in Power Systems Engineering
  • Research related to the management and operation of electricity transmission and distribution systems
  • Undergraduate student awards and Ontario Graduate Scholarships

An initial contribution of $1 million in 2001 established the NSERC Hydro One Chair in Power Systems Engineering, held by Tarlochan Sidhu, PhD, then chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, until he moved to the position of Dean of Engineering at UOIT in January 2012.

Hydro One has also contributed $60,000 annually in support of scholarships to help produce graduates with a deeper knowledge of power systems.


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