Smart Grids Technical Committee

About This Committee

The aim of this committee is to act as a bridge between the Dielectrics and Smart Grid communities, facilitating the exchange of information for mutual benefit.


  1. To identify areas where the use of Smart Grid technology might have an impact upon dielectric systems.
  2. To determine ways in which the data generated by the Smart Grid might further our understanding of how dielectrics perform in service.
  3. To develop new asset management approaches enabled by Smart Grid technology.

What could the DEIS achieve with a “Smart Grid”?

At first glance, Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation may seem rather distant from the Smart Grid; in reality, the Smart Grid could offer a wealth of information about the performance of dielectrics out “in the wild”. If the dielectrics community is able to utilize this information to its full potential, the grid as a whole stands to benefit. DEIS should not just look at what existing Smart Grid technology can deliver to us, but actively consider how creative use of such technology can help us to overcome the challenges that we face in our own field of dielectrics and electrical insulation. We should not see the Smart Grid as a solution in search of a dielectrics problem; instead, we should identify which problems could be overcome, and what new developments could be enabled, if the dielectrics community exploits Smart Grid technology to our advantage.  This motivates us to think about the questions that we need answer where the Smart Grid could be valuable in finding a solution.

What questions does the dielectric community need to answer?

The biggest grid related research challenges facing the dielectrics community broadly fall into two categories; firstly the design of enhanced dielectric materials for new grid assets, and secondly the efficient operation of those assets already existing on the network.  Examples of the questions that the DEIS community is actively striving to answer are:

Improving Asset Design:

  1. Considering future grid scenarios, what conditions should we be designing new insulation systems to endure, and what additional capabilities do they need to have?
  2. Are our standards representative of what is happening in the real world on the network?
  3. How can we use field data to optimise the design of new assets to make them as cost effective as possible?
  4. What new capabilities are required from the insulation systems of future equipment?

 Improving Asset Management:

  • How are our assets being affected by changing network utilisation and environmental conditions, and do we need to do something differently as a result?
  • How can we get the most functionality out of our existing assets, even if our new requirements are not really what they were designed to do?
  • How much longer will our assets last? Can we reliably predict their remaining life from online measurements?
  • Can we improve grid performance by identifying insulation related faults before they happen, particularly for assets such as long cables where conventional sensing is not viable?
  • How can we minimise operational expenditure (maintenance, utilisation of forced cooling etc) while maximising asset availability?
  • How can we deploy an optimal set of sensors to provide sufficient visibility of the condition of assets in real or near real-time basis, leading to the ability of the grid to evaluate its own condition or ‘health’?
  • How can we make use of heterogeneous data, which are spatio-temporal dispersed over the grid to facilitate asset management? 

Harnessed correctly, the world of Smart Grid can help us to answer these questions.

What useful information can the Smart Grid provide?

The Smart Grid is many different things to many different people, and the value proposition for the dielectrics and electrical insulation community is very different to that perceived by other groups, such as network control engineers or protection specialists. 

From the DEIS perspective, the development of the Smart Grid can deliver a wealth of valuable data that we can use to answer the fundamental questions posed above.  The figure below identifies a selection of just some of the valuable parameters for the dielectrics community, which could be enabled by Smart Grid technologies.      

Figure 1 – Examples of information which could be made available by Smart Grid tools

What can DEIS deliver back to Smart Grid?

Although the Smart Grid has many benefits for routine system operation, in the longer term there is a clear opportunity for DEIS activity to help grow the benefits to network operators.  Our vision is that this should deliver:

  • Equipment better designed to cope with the new stresses seen in service.
  • The ability to push insulated equipment harder, but without increasing the rate of failure.
  • Faster detection of fault locations, leading to reduced repair times.
  • An acceleration of the move to prognostic technologies, with improved maintenance regimes and less outages.
  • Realistic assessments of remaining life in an environment where utilisation patterns change more rapidly and conventional asset management assumptions may be invalid.

Bringing all of these capabilities together, embracing the opportunities of the Smart Grid will lead to improved grid performance, but at the lowest possible cost to the consumer.

Recent Activities & Achievements

“The Impact of Smart Grid Technology on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation”
 V. M. Catterson, J. Castellon, J. A. Pilgrim, T. K. Saha, M. Vakilian, A. Moradnouri, M. and B. D. Sparling

IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation (Volume: 22, Issue: 6, pp. 3505 – 3512, December 2015), DOI: 10.1109/TDEI.2015.00518

IEEE Xplore Link

Abstract: Delivery of the Smart Grid is a topic of considerable interest within the power industry in general, and the IEEE specifically. This paper presents the smart grid landscape as seen by the IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society (DEIS) Technical Committee on Smart Grids. We define the various facets of smart grid technology, and present an examination of the impacts on dielectrics within power assets. Based on the trajectory of current research in the field, we identify the implications for asset owners and operators at both the device level and the systems level. The paper concludes by identifying areas of dielectrics and insulation research required to fully realize the smart grid concept. The work of the DEIS is fundamental to achieving the goals of a more active, self-managing grid.

Committee Members & Affiliation

No. Member Name Member Affiliation
1 James Pilgrim Chair, University of Southampton, UK
2 Tapan Saha University of Queensland
3 Sanjay Bahadoorsingh University of West Indies
4 Giovanni Mazzanti University of Bologna
5 Bart Kruizinga Eindhoven University of Technology
6 Jerome Castellon University of Montpellier
7 Mehdi Vakilian Shariff University of Technology
8 Brian Sparling Dynamic Ratings
9 Peter Morshuis Delft University, The Nederlands & “Solid dielectric solutions”
10 Giancarlo Montanari University of Texas
11 Hui Ma University of Queensland
12 Thomas Andritsch University of Southampton

For more information about this technical committee, please contact Dr. James Pilgrim, Smart Grids Chair