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Resilience Engineering

Alex Ștefanov

I am an Assistant Professor of Intelligent Electrical Power Grids in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science at TU Delft. I hold the registered professional title of Chartered Engineer (CEng MIEI) from the Institution of Engineers of Ireland.

Previously, I was a Senior Engineer at NovoGrid Ltd. in Dublin, Ireland. I was primarily responsible for planning and managing the engineering and operation workstreams to deliver software solutions for distribution network operators and embedded renewable generators in the UK and Ireland. I led the technology design and software development that controls the active and reactive power generation of renewable energy sources for active network management and minimization of power losses and curtailment.

Before joining NovoGrid, I worked for three years as Professional Engineer in the Future Networks section, Operations department at ESB Networks, the distribution system operator in Ireland. I was responsible for monitoring the quality of electricity supplied to customers. I managed the works to operate, maintain and develop the power quality monitoring infrastructure in the Irish distribution system. I contributed to the successful implementation of a reactive power – voltage nodal controller for embedded wind farm clusters that supports the transmission system operator to control voltage levels at the boundaries between distribution and transmission systems. I led the technical works for nodal controller implementation, commissioning, field trials, performance monitoring and delivery.

I have postdoctoral research experience in cyber security for power grids. I conducted research at University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland on critical vulnerabilities and cyber intrusion scenarios in a smart grid environment. I graduated with honours my PhD in power systems from University College Dublin. I investigated cyber-physical system modelling, cyber security for power grids and coordinated restoration of interconnected power systems. I graduated with honours his MSc and BSc in power systems engineering from University Politehnica of Bucharest (UPB), Romania.

Expertise
4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering has an important mission to design resilient systems and processes for critical infrastructures. I am working on resilience of cyber-physical energy systems. On top of the power infrastructure reside information and communication technology (ICT) layers for monitoring and control of the grid. The cyber and power systems together form a complex structure, which is referred to as a cyber–physical system (CPS). If the power system’s observability and controllability are compromised due to communication and cyber security problems, the grid can be exposed to catastrophic events. Cyber attacks can damage power equipment and lead to a blackout. Furthermore, natural disasters such as earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes and storms can damage the physical infrastructure of energy systems. I am conducting research to assess and improve the CPS resilience to major disturbances such as natural disasters and cyber attacks.

The energy system transition towards a sustainable future is driven by three main drivers, i.e., decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation. However, digitalisation of power grids would not be possible without the consideration of cyber security. Therefore, my research interests include cyber security investigations and enhancement for power grids. In this research, I am developing models for cyber-physical energy systems, novel security controls and secure Operational Technology (OT) infrastructures for power grids, models for cyber attacks investigation and impact analysis on power system stability, and technologies based on computational methods and AI for cyber attacks mitigation and power system defence and restoration. The objective of my research is to develop resilient cyber-physical energy systems that can anticipate, absorb the shock, adapt and rapidly recover from cyber attacks.