Prof.(Dr.) RAJIV K. VARMA is Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at The University of Western Ontario. He was the “Hydro One Chair in Power Systems Engineering” established by Hydro One Networks Inc. – the largest transmission and distribution utility in Ontario, Canada, from 2012 to the culmination of the Chair program in 2015.
He obtained B.Tech. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, India, in 1980 and 1988, respectively. He started his academic career as Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1989. He was awarded the Government of India BOYSCAST Young Scientist Fellowship in 1992-93 to conduct research on Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS) at The University of Western Ontario (UWO), London, Canada. He continued as Visiting Assistant Professor at UWO until Dec. 1994. He returned to IIT Kanpur and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1997. He was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship of U.S. Educational Foundation in India to travel to United States in 1998 and do research in High Voltage DC (HVDC) Transmission and FACTS at Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Dept. of Energy, at Portland, Oregon. He became Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 2001 prior to joining The University of Western Ontario in Dec. 2001. Dr. Varma has also held Adjunct Professor positions at University of Waterloo and Ryerson University, Toronto.
His teaching and research interests include Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS); Grid Integration of PV Solar and Wind Power Systems; HVDC Transmission, and Power System Stability.
Dr. Varma has presented numerous IEEE Tutorials, Courses and Workshops (several IEEE sponsored), on “FACTS” and “HVDC” in different countries including Canada, US, Colombia, Nepal and India.
He is the Secretary of IEEE Power and Energy Society “HVDC and FACTS Subcommittee” since 2014. He is also the Chair of “IEEE Working Group on HVDC and FACTS Bibliography”, and is active on several other IEEE Working Groups. He was the Editor of “IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery” for five years.
Dr. Rajiv Varma was the Western’s Project Lead in the $6.125 Million project on “Large-Scale Photovoltaic Solar Power Integration in Transmission and Distribution Networks”, together with University of Waterloo, funded by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Ontario Power Authority (OPA), a transmission utility – Hydro One, two local distribution utilities – Bluewater Power Corporation and London Hydro, and a major solar farm developer – First Solar. He subsequently led two multi-university (Western – Waterloo – Ryerson) projects totalling $2 Million on “Enhancing Grid Connectivity of Renewables through Innovative Controls of PV Solar Farms” and “Smart Management of Short Circuit Currents from Distributed Generators”. These Projects were supported by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Ontario’s System Operator (IESO), the above industry partners, Testforce, German Solar and Kaco.
Dr. Varma has developed a set of innovative technologies of utilizing PV solar farms in the NIGHTTIME and also daytime during critical system needs for providing multiple benefits to both transmission and distribution systems. These technologies transform a solar farm inverter into a dynamic reactive power compensator – STATCOM (a FACTS Device), named as PV-STATCOM. Several of these technologies are also applicable to inverter based wind farms.
These PV-STATCOM technologies can bring significant savings for utilities and also initiate new potential opportunities for solar farms to earn significant revenues for providing several grid support functions.
These novel technologies on solar farms can provide a 24/7 functionality of a STATCOM at 50-100 times lower cost compared to conventional FACTS technologies for same benefits. Six patents have been issued in US, Canada and China, while several are pending in different countries.
This PV-STATCOM technology both for NIGHTTIME and daytime applications was successfully installed and demonstrated for the first-time in North America, and perhaps in the world, on 13th December 2016 in the utility network of Bluewater Power Distribution Corporation, in Sarnia, Ontario.
This event was reported in different media articles:
Sarnia Observer: (Front page story)
Sarnia Journal: (Front page story)