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Research on transitioning to renewable energy sources wins SER Junior Prize

Interview with Stefan Stankovic

Stefan Stankovic
Published May 31, 2022

Analysing the challenges in the transition from conventional to renewable energy sources gave Stefan Stankovic, a doctoral student at KTH, the SER Junior Prize.

Stefan Stankovic, a doctoral student at KTH, was awarded the Swedish Electrical and Computer Engineers National Association (SER) Junior Prize for best dissertation in 2021. The award aims to acknowledge Swedish engineers in electrical-, data, or IT to promote technical development.

Stefan was pleasantly surprised when the news about receiving the award got to him.
“I primarily see this award as a great recognition of the creativity and hard work I have put into my dissertation during the last five years. The award gives me strong encouragement to continue my research work and keep learning and improving myself.”

Challenges in the transition to renewable energy sources

His dissertation addresses one of the challenges power systems face with the transition from conventional to renewable energy sources.

The transition means moving a good share of electric power production from high voltage transmission grids to underlying medium voltage distribution and sub-transmission systems, which causes many challenges. One of them is the ability to control voltage. This service is traditionally provided by the synchronous generators used in conventional power plants through connections in the transmission grids. With the energy transition, transmission systems may lose access to synchronous generators and, therefore, lose the means for voltage control.

“My research develops methods and algorithms to estimate reactive power support capabilities at interfaces between distribution and transmission systems. “

He addresses this problem by analysing if the underlying distribution and sub-transmission systems can support the missing reactive power for the voltage control of transmission systems. 

“The research contains a lot of exciting challenges. Still, they shouldn’t be regarded as potential problems but as opportunities to make our power systems more agile, flexible and resilient in the future.”

The road to award-winning research

After getting his master's degree in electrical engineering, KTH was on top of Stefan's wish list of universities. With good luck and timing, a doctoral student position in power engineering opened up. 

After an interview with Professor Lennart Söder, Stefan got the job. 

“To my great happiness, Lennart became my doctoral supervisor. If it were not for his guidance and trust in me, I wouldn’t have been able to win this award.”

Going through doctoral studies is a road with many challenges. Sometimes
your research goes very smoothly, and sometimes, you may get stuck on some
the problem that at the time may look impossible to solve.

“The most important thing is not to be discouraged by these challenges because overcoming them was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences during my doctoral studies.”

One, but not the only rewarding experience. During his time at KTH, Stefan met a lot of new colleagues and friends.

"Sharing my journey with them made it much easier to overcome any challenge, not only research-related."

Stefan is now continuing his striving toward sustainable power systems at RISE. He hopes that some of the results from his dissertation can help solve issues in the control and operation of future power systems.