Energy Infrastructure

About This Strategic Research Area

The increasing demand for renewable energy continues to drive discovery in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Our faculty are leading projects in electric power systems, wind and solar energy, and energy planning that will help answer the challenges we face as a result of growing energy demands worldwide.

Energy Infrastructure Poster

ECpE department research in this area focuses on:

  • Power grid planning and design
    • Design of generation and transmission under uncertainty
    • Interregional network design using AC and HVDC transmission
  • Grid integration for wind and solar
    • Wind energy laboratory
    • Transmission design for very high wind penetration
    • Frequency control using demand response and storage
    • Electricity market design
    • Voltage impacts of distributed energy resources
  • Power grid security and stability
    • Cyber-physical power systems security
    • Power system monitoring and control
    • Characterization of cascading failure
    • Power grid defense systems for extreme events
    • Mitigation of geomagnetic disturbances

This research has applications in areas such as renewable energy, electric vehicles, and the smart grid.


  • ECpE is working with Southern California Edison to create a set of coordinated, automatic measures to protect the Southern California power system  against major disturbances.
  • ECpE is a member of the Mid-America Regional Microgrid Education and Training (MARMET) Consortium, part of a $60 million Department of Energy project with aims to lower the cost of solar electricity and advance seamless grid integration.
  • Engineers at ECpE are integrating distributed generation into the existing smart grid by designing networked, self-supplied microgrids that are more resilient to outages and safer from cyber attacks.


Faculty in This Area

  • Venkataramana Ajjarapu
  • Rana Biswas
  • Vikram Dalal (secondary area)
  • Ian Dobson
  • Manimaran Govindarasu (secondary area)
  • Ratnesh Kumar (secondary area)
  • James McCalley
  • James McCalley
  • Joseph Shinar (Physics Department)
  • Ruth Shinar (secondary area)
  • Leigh Tesfatsion
  • Hugo Villegas Pico
  • Lizhi Wang
  • Joseph Zambreno (secondary area)

Energy Infrastructure Research Centers, Institutes, and Laboratories


Research Projects and Publications

For complete information on research projects and publications in this area, consult individual faculty members’ websites, our graduate student thesis archives, and individual research center and laboratory websites.


Graduate Student Research Areas

Energy infrastructure research at Iowa State encompasses the following core areas of graduate study in electrical and computer engineering: