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Post Doctoral Fellow – Distribution Grid Control and Resilience Analysis
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Job Description

The energy system integration team at NREL is looking for an innovative and adaptable postdoc researcher with a positive attitude and excellent collaboration skills to join our cutting-edge research team. The successful candidate will bring a strong track record in the areas of electrical power distribution systems control and operation, distribution automation, and grid resilience. Research time will be split between (1) developing new, enhanced modeling and simulation capabilities for power systems with multiple layers of control embedded and (2) developing cutting-edge control applications and grid impact studies with internal or external research teams, utility or private industry partners. The ideal candidate will bring technical knowledge across the entire energy value spectrum: generation, transmission, distribution, load, communication and system control; experience with power systems and advanced control solutions; and with the integration of hardware components in order to perform hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulations. Example applications include: home energy management systems; advanced distribution management systems; co-simulation of communications, controls and power systems; utilizing distributed/decentralized control algorithms; incorporating new data and approaches into controls, model predictive control and other advanced algorithms; and data analytics for enhanced situational awareness.

The successful candidate will be part of the Energy Systems Optimization and Control group under the Power Systems Engineering Center (PSEC) at NREL. PSEC supports the science and technology goals of the U.S. Department of Energy and NREL toward a sustainable energy future. The center works with the electricity industry to optimize strategies for effectively interconnecting renewable resources and emerging energy efficiency technologies to the existing electric power system, and to modernize the electric power system. The center focuses on resolving grid integration barriers and providing improved control and management strategies for increased grid flexibility, consumer empowerment, and transportation electrification.

The job responsibilities include:

  • Working independently to investigate and/or conduct, test and document research and experiments.
  • Working across and with technical teams to achieve project objectives while developing new capabilities for NREL
  • Working with management and senior staff to develop funding in the distribution automation area.
  • Collaborating and communicating with other colleagues and customers to fulfill project tasks
  • Publishing results in technical journals/conference proceedings
  • Presenting work at conferences, symposia, and review meetings.
  • Following all Environment, Safety, and Health policies and procedures to ensure and maintain a safe working environment.

Education, Experience, and Skills:

  • Relevant PhD in Electrical Engineering or computer engineering or other systems engineering fields.

Or, relevant Master's Degree and 3 or more years of experience or equivalent relevant education/experience.

Or, relevant Bachelor's Degree and 5 or more years of experience or equivalent relevant education/experience.

  • Demonstrated leadership in one or more areas of team, task, or project lead responsibilities
  • Understanding of power system concepts in both transmission and distribution systems
  • Experience with technical computer-based simulations, ideally in energy systems. (See additional preferred qualifications below)
  • Experience with computer programming and software development
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).


Required Education, Experience, and Skills

Must be a recent PhD graduate within the last three years.


Preferred Qualifications

Specific preferred qualifications:

  • Experienced in distribution grid modeling and simulation
  • Experienced in distribution network management, such as network reconfiguration, service restoration
  • Experienced in distribution automation, operation and control, such as volt-var control, distribution voltage regulation.
  • Experienced in developing control algorithms for improving the operation of distribution grids.
  • Experienced in distributed energy resource control and optimization.
  • Be familiar with grid resilience, natural disaster modeling, and risk assessment.
  • Proficient in using power system simulation software: OpenDSS is most preferred, GridLab-D, PSCAD and Simulink are plus.
  • Proficient in programming, such as Matlab and Python.


Submission Guidelines

Please note that in order to be considered an applicant for any position at NREL you must submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions. Please include a cover letter and resume with each position application.


EEO Policy

NREL is dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity. NREL promotes a work environment that does not discriminate against workers or job applicants and prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, marital status, ancestry, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or veteran status, including special disabled veterans.

NREL validates right to work using E-Verify. NREL will provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) and, if necessary, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with information from each new employee’s Form I-9 to confirm work authorization. For additional information, click here.

About National Renewable Energy Laboratory

At NREL, we focus on creative answers to today's energy challenges. From breakthroughs in fundamental science to new clean technologies to integrated energy systems that power our lives, NREL researchers are transforming the way the nation and the world use energy.