Life of the association

CIGRE NGN: Discussion with Chandan Kumar

CIGRE would like to introduce a new section in Life of the Association: Interviews from Women in Engineering and Next Generation Network. A lot of focus is given to senior CIGRE members and these interviews will present younger members and let them explain what CIGRE means to them. These Q&A interviews are short but allow us to have a new, younger perspective on CIGRE membership; they tell us what interests them in their work, as well as what their projects and goals are. These are the voices of our industry’s future. Please share with young people on your teams and encourage their membership in CIGRE!

Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Electrical Engineering, Graduated in 2011, 13 years in industry
Current position: Chief Manager, Operational Planning, Grid Controller of India Limited (GRID-INDIA)

I am currently associated with following CIGRE WGs:

  • CIGRE Working Group C4.47 “Power System Resilience”
  • CIGRE JWG C4/C2.62/IEEE “Review of Advancements in Synchrophasor Measurement Applications”

In the past I was a member of following CIGRE WGs:

  • CIGRE Working Group C2.17 (Brochure 750) “Wide Area Monitoring Systems: Support for Control Room Applications”
  • CIGRE Working Group C2.25 (Brochure 833) “Operating Strategies and Preparedness for System Operational Resilience”: Member (Significant Contribution in Brochure Development)

What lead you to your present career or job?

Chandan: I've been part of Grid Controller of India Limited (GRID-INDIA) since I graduated in 2011. It serves as the Independent System Operator (ISO) for the Indian Power System. My fascination with the power systems’ intricate workings, with numerous generators and other devices operating seamlessly to supply electricity to our homes, started during my college days as a young engineer. Working at GRID-INDIA has allowed me to gain a comprehensive understanding of the multi-domain aspects of power system. ISOs like ours are at the forefront of the power system's evolution, constantly adapting to new technologies and changes. This ongoing learning process keeps the engineer in me motivated to make meaningful contributions in this dynamic field.

What are you working on now that would interest ELECTRA readers?

C.: Currently, I'm immersed in the field of power system resilience, a topic that has become increasingly crucial due to the rising frequency of high-impact, low-frequency (HILF) events experienced by power systems. My work primarily revolves around enhancing the resilience of power systems, encompassing both planning and operational aspects. During this journey I am fortunate to be associated as a member with CIGRE WG C2.25 on operational planning and also a part of ongoing WG C4.47 on Power System Resilience.

In addition, I'm also delving into battery energy storage (BESS) and exploring its utility as an ancillary service within the power system, considering various charging and discharging strategies to optimize its performance.

What has been the biggest challenge with your work?

C.: The power system arena is vast and multifaceted, constituting a critical infrastructure. One of its most significant challenges is the sheer magnitude of knowledge, practices, and implementations it encompasses. It's virtually impossible to learn and understand every aspect of this field. However, I've adopted a practical approach by continually learning and absorbing fundamental insights from my colleagues and other sectoral experts who specialize in different domains within the power system. This approach enables me to appreciate the interconnectedness and complexity of the power system and contribute effectively to its functioning and resilience.

What has been your biggest challenge balancing work and personal life?

C.: The pandemic brought a unique chapter into my life as I became a parent. It was a time filled with precious memories and, of course, its fair share of challenges. Throughout this entire journey, my GRID-INDIA family stood by me unwaveringly. Their support was instrumental in ensuring that I could navigate the demands of parenthood without compromising my professional responsibilities. Their understanding and assistance made it possible for me to strike a balance between work and personal life, which was especially critical during the pandemic when remote work and caregiving became intertwined. I'm deeply grateful for the solidarity and understanding within the GRID-INDIA community, which made this phase of my life more manageable and enjoyable.

How did you get involved in CIGRE?

C.: My introduction to CIGRE came through the guidance of my mentors and seasoned professionals at GRID-INDIA when I embarked on my career there. They handed me a few brochures about CIGRE, sparking my interest in this organization. What truly captivated me was the realization that CIGRE was dedicated to addressing practical issues encountered in the power sector. Engineers from various countries collaboratively worked together, sharing their experiences and knowledge to find solutions, and these insights were documented in the form of brochures. This marked the beginning of my journey with CIGRE, and in 2017, I had the privilege of participating in my first Working Group C2.17 focused on Synchrophasor technology application. This further deepened my involvement with CIGRE and helped me in understanding how collaborative learning can help in addressing some of the sectoral challenges. 

What do you feel is CIGRE’s ‘added value’?

C.: My association with CIGRE has been immensely beneficial for my career and personal growth. I've had the privilege of participating in various working groups, which allowed me to collaborate remotely with experts in the field. This experience not only expanded my professional network but also provided a platform to address various doubts I had.

Being part of CIGRE has not only enhanced my knowledge but also enabled me to make meaningful contributions to the power system domain. I've witnessed significant changes and improvements in CIGRE since I joined as an individual member in 2014. The organization has evolved and grown, offering even more valuable resources and opportunities. Ultimately, the extent to which we benefit from this extensive platform depends on how we choose to utilize it.

Why would you recommend CIGRE membership to others?

C.: CIGRE is indeed a good platform for practicing engineers offering a dual benefit of learning and professional networking. It's a valuable resource hub that provides a wide range of materials; from informative brochures to in-depth technical papers. What makes these resources particularly valuable is their focus on practical implementation of technology in the power system. CIGRE's commitment to providing such comprehensive resources greatly enhances the knowledge and expertise of its members, making it an indispensable tool for professionals in the field of power systems.

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Where do you see yourself in 15 years?

C.: In the ever-evolving landscape of the power sector, predicting the future can be challenging. However, one thing I can say with certainty is that I will remain a perpetual learner in the field of power systems throughout my career. Working at GRID-INDIA ensures that I stay on this continuous learning curve, allowing me to stay informed and adapt to the ongoing transitions within the industry. We know that dynamic nature of the power sector demands a commitment to staying updated and being open to acquiring new knowledge and skills. This commitment is what drives me to keep up with the changes and advancements in the field, ensuring that I remain a valuable contributor to the industry for the long haul.

Do you have one major goal or do you have a bucket list? Are you willing to share this information?

C.: From my early days, I've had a deep passion for both traveling and reading. I aspire to explore and experience most of the tourist destinations in my own country as well as abroad. It's a lifelong goal that combines my love for adventure, culture, and discovering new perspectives.

What would you like to see change in our industry in the future?

C.: One of the significant transformations I eagerly anticipate is the transition of large power systems, such as India's, to operate entirely on 100% renewable energy (RE). This shift represents a formidable challenge, as it involves moving from a system primarily reliant on synchronous generators to one dominated by inverters and power electronics.

Working at GRID-INDIA, I look forward to being part of this exhilarating and dynamic journey in the years to come. This transition promises to be both challenging and exciting, as we navigate the complexities of integrating renewable energy sources into the power grid while ensuring reliability, stability, and sustainability. It's a transformative path and I'm enthusiastic about contributing to its realization.

If you are a WiE or NGN member and wish to be featured in an upcoming ELECTRA edition, please contact ELECTRA Editorial Team. If you are reading these and wish to join CIGRE, please visit this page

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