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Dominguez-Garcia named IEEE PES Outstanding Young Engineer

The IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) has named ITI's Alejandro Dominguez-Garcia the 2012 IEEE PES Outstanding Young Engineer.

The award was established to recognize young engineers' "outstanding contributions in the leadership of technical society activities including local and/or transnational PES and other technical societies, leadership in community and humanitarian activities, and evidence of competence through significant engineering achievements," according to the PES website.

"It was a huge honor to be selected," said Dominguez-Garcia. "I am extremely happy. It was an exhilarating moment. It is a good feeling."

Dominguez-Garcia's research interests lie in the interface of system reliability theory and control theory, especially as applied to power and energy systems. His work focuses on the impact that an increasing reliance on solar or wind power can have on the reliability of energy systems. As he explained, "What if we have forty to fifty percent of our energy from renewable resources? What impact will that have on the reliability of our electricity supply?"

In addition, Dominguez-Garcia has also been performing research on decentralized control of distributed energy resources (DER). DER includes such things as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, solar installations on buildings and houses, and the like. "The idea is how do you actually control thousands of those resources that are in a system in a distributed manner—meaning that you don't have a centralized decision maker to command all of them--so that you actually achieve some global goal?" said Dominguez-Garcia. "That's been a very active area of research of mine in the last couple of years."

Dominguez-Garcia has been active in PES, serving on a number of the organization's committees and subcommittees over the years. In addition he served as vice chair of the University Education Subcommittee of PES. He, along with his colleagues Thomas J. Overbye and Peter W. Sauer, are organizing the 2012 North American Power Symposium, which will be held in September on the University of Illinois campus.

As for the future of his field, Dominguez-Garcia sees a growing importance of communications and control with power systems. "A massive implementation of smart meters and two-way communications are going to make a difference," he said. "That is where the field is going to evolve. All these elements have to come into the picture. So, a challenge is to determine how to integrate them into the system. Also, what are the implications of the integration? What can we do with them that we cannot do today? There's going to be a very large interplay with what we call the physical layer—the power system itself—and this cyber layer—communications, control, and so on."

Dominguez-Garcia's primary academic department is the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering.

Source: Tom Moone, ECE communications coordinator