Author Topic: Power System Engineer Career  (Read 1187 times)

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Offline zeke.

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Power System Engineer Career
« on: December 03, 2021, 02:17:34 am »
I'm looking from some insight from some fellow electrical engineers.

I currently work in the defense contractor industry as an controls engineer. I work on some cool stuff pertaining to electric drives, but I'm looking into working for the utilities sector next. Power transmission, distribution and generation sounds interesting to me. A dream of mine is to eventually own some property and build my own PV system to go off the grid. I want to stay on the side of EE that involves interesting math, like inverter switching topologies(Sinewave PWM, Third harmonic injection, SVM...etc), stuff like this is really cool!

Is there technical work at utilities companies? If not, then whose doing the technical work in the power sector?
How competitive is the market to get a job at a utilities company?
 

Offline mag_therm

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Re: Power System Engineer Career
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2021, 05:00:29 pm »
I knew a few who are in utilities or in the consultancies that service them.
Some  are PE Electrical, and work more as systems engineers, although one is a PhD and PE working in deep calculations for transmission.

I suggest you subscribe to the magazine "Pac-World". It is free to engineers and is weighted toward the technical side.
also articles and papers from the utility equipment vendors.
www.pacw.org
 
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Offline zeke.

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Re: Power System Engineer Career
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2021, 03:33:50 pm »
Awesome thank you!
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Power System Engineer Career
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2021, 08:45:50 pm »
If not, then whose doing the technical work in the power sector?
Take a look at companies that specialize in making the equipment. Some names that I can think of are ABB, Delta Electronics, Eaton, Schneider Electric, SMA, and Sunpower.
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 
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Online Faringdon

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Re: Power System Engineer Career
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2021, 10:06:03 pm »
Are you doing math and design type work now? And are you young?
If not, it may be difficult to just walk into it elsewhere....just sayin.

Did your college tutor not recomend you for that kind of work when you left college?.....if not, then as i discussed, it may be difficult to suddenly get into it..but you never know.....try your luck on the job boards.

Why not build your own off grid inverter. Make it super long life by using the el caps an a way that garantees them long life...and make the fans failure proof by having them easily removeable....ie, make it more original than the stuff thats getting imported....then when youve done it, put it on your cv.....some company doing that will likely  come after you.

But remember, most of the design of this kind of stuff is done in the Far east now....and your country's  middle men will be importing the kit, and making themselves a fortune in the process......and gazzumping you (and me) out of a job.
I once took a job in a battery/solar company...but all the electronics and inverters etc was all just imported from Taiwan/China.

By the way, i'm actually working on a 5kW Inverter now to output mains. Give me a shout if you want to see some of the sims. The  output current range , and output power range, is very large, and this gives challenges for the PWM control circuitry. I also intend to adapt this for off grid.
I think the control may need to be software for the fet switching...but i wonder how far i can get with a switchable/reconfigurable_on_the_fly analog solution
« Last Edit: December 04, 2021, 10:17:53 pm by Faringdon »
 
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Offline zeke.

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Re: Power System Engineer Career
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2021, 10:23:02 pm »
Yes, I do modeling and analysis for an electric propulsion system using Matlab/Simulink.

That off grid inverter seems like a great idea!
I'm not looking to relocate outside the country so those design jobs would be out of the option, unfortunately.

What are you working on now? If you don't mind sharing
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Power System Engineer Career
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2021, 01:51:21 am »
What are you working on now? If you don't mind sharing
If you want to play around with "real" high power equipment for fairly cheap, hack a Prius inverter, details available in the Openinverter community. It's easy enough to find one for about $100 and they're pretty robust. They'll even work with lower voltages like 48V (although not very efficiently) if you're not comfortable working with high voltage right away.
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 
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Offline zeke.

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Re: Power System Engineer Career
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2021, 04:18:58 am »
If you want to play around with "real" high power equipment for fairly cheap, hack a Prius inverter, details available in the Openinverter community.

I recently bought one of those TI c2000 micro controller launch pad kits to learn the control side of the hardware.
That prius inverter hack sounds really cool.
 

Offline JohnG

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Re: Power System Engineer Career
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2021, 06:45:17 pm »
Just my take, it sounds like you are more on the power electronics side than power systems, though it's not a very clear-cut boundary to be sure. Do you want to design power converters, do you want to build systems of interconnected converters, do you want to tie systems of interconnected converters to the grid, or do you want to work on the grid? If you say all of the above, that's admirable (or crazy) and I wish you good luck!

I would try to focus on one or two of these. If you can straddle two of them, or "major" in one and "minor" in another, that can be quite valuable. The adaptability required for the latter will come in handy when the world changes. You can always keep an eye on the other stuff.

If you want big power (opposite of what I do), I have a friend with a consultancy that commissions power plants (better have everything just right when you connect it back to the grid!). Or look for a job with a company doing utility scale renewables.

Just my (almost worthless) $0.02,

John
"Those who learn the lessons of history are doomed to know when they are repeating the mistakes of the past." Putt's Law of History
 
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Offline Jester

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Re: Power System Engineer Career
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2021, 07:44:49 pm »
My first few years out of university (early 80's) I worked as a protection engineer for a couple of different power utilities and then later in their research department.  Pay was good, looks like that has not changed I just looked it up and the current range is from $129k-379k Back in those days the large utilities often had a dedicated research group and some really interesting work. Often enough the technology developed was sold or transferred to other large firms like GE etc. to commercialize it so the utility could then purchase it as a product for their use. The protection side was not as interesting, but still somewhat (ever see a pair of 2000MW inverters?), they require a lot of electronics.

I'm not sure how things have evolved in other places, but those good old days are long gone around here. One of my bosses parted ways and started a company with what he had learned and I joined in the earliest days it was fun, leading edge for that kind of work and we made a ton of money. Eventually the company got sold to investors and they destroyed the company in short order.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 07:51:51 pm by Jester »
 
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Offline zeke.

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Re: Power System Engineer Career
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2021, 12:30:49 am »
Just my take, it sounds like you are more on the power electronics side than power systems, though it's not a very clear-cut boundary to be sure. Do you want to design power converters, do you want to build systems of interconnected converters, do you want to tie systems of interconnected converters to the grid, or do you want to work on the grid? If you say all of the above, that's admirable (or crazy) and I wish you good luck!

Yes, my professional experience is more related to power electronics but power systems is something I'd be more interested in.
I think I'm looking for something systems related rather than hardware design. Any of 3/4 options you said sounds like something I'd love to get involved in.
Big power is something I like! I would like to know more about what your friend does.
 


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