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Power Systems and Power Electronics

Fred WangCrashing waves, whipping wind, and buckling ground can play havoc with the energy grid, which means one of the first things to break down in a natural disaster is often the power supply.

Researchers in UT’s College of Engineering are spearheading a novel approach to help keep the lights on.

Professor and Condra Chair of Excellence in Power Electronics Fred Wang leads a team working on microgrids, systems that can operate independently of the overall power grid when the situation arises.

“In Hurricane Sandy, for example, millions of customers were without electricity for weeks, leading to billions of dollars worth of economic losses,” said Wang, who holds a joint appointment with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “Microgrids, which would generate power by drawing on solar and energy storage, would have made appreciable differences in how that disaster affected people’s lives.”

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