Murty Bhavaraju – Senior Consultant, Power System Reliability –
Capacity Market Operations – PJM Interconnection
“We have to encourage more young engineers to enter the power industry now, so that they can begin to build a new institutional memory.”
How do young engineers choose a career path? I know that the personal relationships one develops in school and at work have a great deal of influence, because that’s what happened to me. My PhD advisor, Dr. Roy Billinton, is a well-known researcher in the field of power system reliability. His guidance and encouragement led me to specialize in the same field. Later, when I went to work at PSE&G, Jack Casazza and Steve Mallard were two managers who not only gave me advice and opportunities relating to my work, but taught me important life lessons.
I am proud to be part of the team that has been responsible for maintaining the reliability of the system.
There is a question that comes up often among my contemporaries in the power industry: What will happen when our generation retires? There is a great deal of institutional memory embedded in the minds of those who have worked in our field for many years. Of course, a core education in mathematics and engineering and an analytical background are required, but experience is also essential when we face an unusual problem and someone can remember, “This is what we did when this happened in 1980.” There is no immediate solution to this problem, but I know that we have to encourage more young engineers to enter the power industry now, so that they can begin to build a new institutional memory.
That’s one reason I work with many young engineers and try to share my experience with them. Their grasp and level of comprehension is extraordinary, and they have a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to work on new concepts and new ideas.
My generation was part of an exciting time for power system reliability. Our power grid has grown exponentially both in size and complexity since I was a young engineer. I am proud to have been part of the team that has been responsible for maintaining the reliability of the system, so that power is always available when and where it’s needed.
The next generation of power and energy engineers will have big challenges. They will need to maintain that reliability, while minimizing cost and maintaining environmental goals, at a time when environmental standards are tightening. At the same time, trends such as deregulated power markets, smart grid and demand resources will provide exciting challenges and opportunities for them. I believe that making an investment in the PES Scholarship Plus Initiative® is not just important for our industry, but for everyone who relies on power and energy, whether for comfort, security or recreation.