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Innovative microgrid evaluation tool helps transform utility industry: Q&A with Dr. Mohammad Mojdehi

Thought leader and industry expert in utility modernization, Mohammad Mojdehi, PhD joined OBG just three years ago and is already making an impact. We sat down with Mohammad to learn more about OBG’s energy business, his perspective on the microgrid and energy storage industry, and the innovative tool he developed for evaluating the performance of microgrid protection.

Q: So far, what do you like about OBG?

A: OBG’s culture recognizes innovation as a tool for growth. This has been the main driver for a lot of innovative ideas that have the potential to generate value for the company. This environment has encouraged me and many others to think outside of the box, and always look for better solutions.

Q: How do you see technology differentiating OBG in the energy industry?

A: For more than 100 years, design of energy infrastructure was predicated on the assumption that large centralized generation produced energy that was transmitted over long distances to local distribution systems. This standard convention has significantly altered with the introduction of new technologies into our nation’s grid architecture, such as renewables, localized generation, and energy storage. The challenge lies in assessing the impacts related to safe and reliable operation, with energy production “repositioned” at the edge of the grid.

OBG has created an analytical tool that integrates with a utility’s existing database, generates an accurate model of the energy infrastructure with all interconnected components, and provides time-based analysis—unlike any other current software platform.

Using this new tool, OBG can plan, design, and implement a resilient electrical system—a microgrid, interconnect renewable and emerging power sources like PV (photovoltaic) energy storage, and optimally operate generation and storage assets.  

Q: How is the energy business at OBG making an impact on the world?

A: As the utility industry transforms, many critical strategies are needed to successfully achieve a modern grid, making grid modernization initiatives a priority across the U.S. Soon, all utilities will need to conduct analysis required for system upgrades and interconnections.

The current landscape of planning software providers is small, with five providers covering 75% of U.S. utilities. These providers, along with research institutions like the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), are slowly working on providing the required analysis; however, OBG believes that the development of our analytical tool is well ahead of the competition.

Q: Can you talk about some of the interesting projects you’re working on?

A: Currently, we are advancing platform development for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and major utilities across New York State. We expect our tool to be used by all utilities in the state by the fall of this year, and ultimately many utilities across the country.

Q: How are you contributing to OBG as a Thought Leader in grid modernization?

A: As a thought leader, I continually share my expertise, experience, and research with the industry. I have published in multiple peer-reviewed conferences and journals, and present on topics related to grid modernization at conferences across the U.S., such as the New York Battery & Energy Storage Technology (NY-BEST) Consortium; SUNY Solar Summit + Storage; IEEE Power System Conference; and Advanced Energy Conference.

View Mohammad’s recent thought leadership:

Microgrid Protection: A Planning Perspective [PDF]
IEEE Power and Energy Society Transmission & Distribution, 2018

An Analytical Approach to Examine the Transient Impact of Distributed Energy Resources on Distribution Systems for Protection Studies [PDF] 
IEEE North American Power Symposium, 2017

Evaluating Unintentional Islanding Risks for a High Penetration PV Feeder [PDF]
IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting, 2017

Microgrid Interoperability: First Steps from Policy to Implementation  
IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technologies, 2016

About Dr. Mohammad Mojdehi: Mohammad is a leading expert on renewable energy and distributed generation for public and private sector clients and utilities. His extensive knowledge of advanced power technologies helps clients focus on decreasing their dependence on large, centralized generation in favor of more reliable, local grids. Extensively published in his field, Mr. Mojdehi performs original research, modeling, analytical studies, and readiness assessments and evaluations for clients.

Mohammad can be contacted at: Mohammad.Mojdehi@obg.com

Learn more about how OBG brings the latest thinking to some of today’s most challenging areas—from advanced water treatment to sediment management and emerging contaminants; resilient energy, water, and coastal infrastructure; and smart manufacturing—in our Insights from OBG Thought Leaders video.