Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Ahmed Mohamed


Microgirds, Smart grid, Community Microgrid, ICT-Enabled Control and Energy Management of Community Microgrids, Resilient Smart Grid Operation, Smart autonomous microgrid


Our research has focused on developing novel controllers and algorithms to enhance the resilience of the power grid and increase its readiness level against major disturbances.

The U.S. power grid currently encounters two main challenges: (1) the massive and extended blackouts caused by natural disasters, such as hurricane Sandy. These blackouts have raised a national call to explore innovative approaches for enhanced grid resiliency. Scrutinizing how previous blackouts initiated and propagated throughout the power grid, the major reasons are lack of situational awareness, lack of real-time monitoring and control, underdeveloped controllers at both the transmission and distribution levels, and lack of preparation for major emergencies; and (2) the projected high penetration of renewable energy resources (RES) into the electric grid, which is mainly driven by federal and state regulatory actions to reduce GHG emissions from new and existing power plants, and to encourage Non Wire Solutions (NWS). RESs are intermittent by nature imposing a challenge to forecast load and maintain generation/demand balance.

The conceived vision of the smart grid is a cyber-physical system that amalgamates high processing power and increased dependence on communication networks to enable real-time monitoring and control. This will allow for, among other objectives, the realization of increased resilience and self-healing capabilities. This vision entails a hierarchical control architecture in which a myriad of microgrids, each locally controlled at the prosumer level, coordinates within the distribution level with their correspondent distribution system operator (i.e. area controllers). The various area controllers are managed by a Wide Area Monitoring, Protection and Control operator. The smart grid has been devised to address the grid main challenges; however, some technical barriers are yet to be overcome. These barriers include the need to develop new control techniques and algorithms that enable flexible transitions between operational modes of a single controller, and effective coordination between hierarchical control layers. In addition, there is a need to understand the reliability impacts of increased dependence on communication networks.

In an attempt to tackle the aforementioned barriers, in my work, novel controllers to manage the prosumer and distribution networks were developed and analyzed. Specifically, the following has been accomplished at the prosumer level, we: 1) designed and implemented a DC MG testbed with minimal off-the-shelf components to enable testing new control techniques with significant flexibility and reconfiguration capability; 2) developed a communication-based hybrid state/event driven control scheme that aims at reducing the communication load and complexity, processor computations, and consequently system cost while maintaining resilient autonomous operation during all possible scenarios including major emergencies; and 3) analyzed the effect of communication latency on the performance of centralized ICT-based DC microgrids, and developed mathematical models to describe the behavior of microgrids during latency. In addition, we proposed a practical solution to mitigate severe impacts of latency.

At the distribution level, we: 1) developed a model for an IEEE distribution test network with multiple MGs integrated[AM1] [PL2] ; 2) developed a control scheme to manage community MGs to mitigate RES intermittency and enhance the grid resiliency, deferring the need for infrastructure upgrade; and 3) investigated the optimal placement and operation of community MGs in distribution networks using complex network analysis, to increase distribution networks resilience.

At the transmission level (T.L), New York State T.L was modeled. A case study was conducted on Long Island City to study the impact of high penetration of renewable energy resources on the grid resilience in the transmission level. These research accomplishments should pave the way and help facilitate a smooth transition towards the future smart grid..



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.