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NREL Researcher – Distribution Grid Control and Operation in Golden, Colorado

Posting Title

Researcher – Distribution Grid Control and Operation



CO - Golden


Position Type



Hours Per Week



Job Description

The energy system integration team at NREL is looking for an innovative and adaptable 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.


Basic Qualifications

Relevant PhD Or Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering or relevelnt discipline.

3 or more years of experience in distribution Grid Control and Operation or related discipline.


Additional Qualifications

Demonstrates broad understanding and wide application of engineering technical procedures, principles, theories and concepts in the field. General knowledge of other related disciplines.

Preferred Qualifications

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.

Demonstrates leadership in one or more areas of team, task or project lead responsibilities. Demonstrated experience in management of projects. Very good writing, interpersonal and communication skills.


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.


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