Posted on December 02, 2019

Texas A&M University at Qatar and Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) recently hosted the Second International Conference on Smart Grid and Renewable Energy (SGRE2019) focusing on smart grid and renewable energy resource integration for Qatar and beyond.

The goal of the workshop was to generate a long-term smart grid research agenda relating to smart grid and renewable energy. This should lead to a smarter electric grid that is necessary for maintaining rapid economic development, improved social lifestyle and a greener living environment. The conference was co-sponsored by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and three societies of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Industrial Electronics Society, Power Electronics Society, and Power and Energy Society.

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H.E. Eng. Essa Bin Hilal Al-Kuwari, Kahramaa president and honorary conference chair, opened the conference and said, “Qatar’s economic and digital growth increases energy demand and the need for an efficient energy infrastructure. Smart, innovative grids are key to the energy transformation required to meet Qatar’s climate and energy responsibilities.”

He continued by sharing Kahramaa’s smart grid vision, which is to transform Qatar’s grid into a secure, sustainable and digitally enabled grid that provides reliable and quality energy for our stakeholders by 2026. “Like any smart utility, Kahramaa faces challenges while upgrading its network. This includes continuous need for investment, technology choice and upgrade, and cyber security issues. However, our grid is highly capable of monitoring and controlling all its assets and operations together with its networks of smart meters, renewable energy and electric vehicles, while optimizing Kahramaa’s business and engaging its customers.”

Dr. Munir Tag, QNRF Senior Program Manager of ICT, spoke on behalf of QNRF Executive Director Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie. Tag said, “Transferring the conventional electrical power grid to the era of ‘smart grids’ is in line with our strategic orientation as it will lead to higher energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions. However, there are many technical challenges facing the spread of the smart grid concept. QNRF has played a major role in supporting this complex and multidisciplinary research field, and QNRF funding is supporting research focusing on building a strong research capacity and creating mature research infrastructure, platforms and testbeds. This in due course will encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in this field as well.”

He continued, “We look forward to transforming the outcome of these projects into business opportunities and impact for societal and economic benefits. At this occasion, I want to renew QNRF’s commitment to engage more with our partners to further develop the local smart grid infrastructure and advance cutting-edge research and innovation in this field.”

The conference brought together leading scientists, researchers and stakeholders from national and international scientific, governmental and industry sectors to exchange knowledge and point out the challenges, opportunities and future directions related to renewable energy and smart grid adaptation in our current and future lives, said Dr. Haitham Abu-Rub, conference general chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Texas A&M at Qatar. 

“SGRE2019 highlighted the challenges facing the current electric grid,” Abu-Rub said, “and the nature of the future grid, which should be flexible enough to fulfill customers’ needs while responding to the changes and challenges ahead; accessible to grant connection access to all network users, particularly for various renewable energy sources; reliable in terms of security and power supply; and economical enough to provide the best value at the best price. Such a power grid is called a ‘smart grid’ because it integrates electricity and information and communication infrastructures to produce electricity more efficiently and reliably, as well as cleanly and safely for the environment.”

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Attendees exchanged information on medium- to long-term research and future challenges of smart grid and renewable energies and engaged in discussions of ongoing and future research toward next-generation smart grid technologies and applications, leading to research collaboration opportunities among participants.

The conference also showcased the significant achievements of researchers and research units in Qatar in the area of smart grid and renewable energy. SGRE2019 attracted attendees from around the world. More than 150 articles were submittedfor review, with more than 500 authors from 20 countries. After the diligent efforts of 400 reviewers, 79 articles were finally accepted for publication and the majority of them were presented at the conference.

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