Spotlight on a Student: Han Wang

Integrating Distributed Energy Resources into the Electrical Grid while Maintaining Reliability of Supply

Han Wang

What is your research about?

I am a second-year electrical engineering PhD student asking: how can we economically integrate distributed energy resources into the electrical grid while maintaining reliability of supply?

My project aims at answering this multifaceted question by researching the requirements for sourcing multi-energy flexibility from distributed energy systems.

Flexibility and several associated “grid services” are needed to maintain key technical characteristics of the energy system, including standards of frequency, voltage, network loading and system restart processes. These services are key for grid functionality, and are affected by changes in the energy system. With Australia undertaking an energy transition towards low-carbon energy production, the country is facing a number of flexibility challenges and increasing flexibility requirements, for example to balance variable renewable energy.

In the past, flexibility has been provided by conventional power plants. However, these are being economically displaced by renewable energy sources. This means we need new flexibility providers to maintain the reliability of the grid.

These new flexibility providers may for example be various distributed energy resources, such as batteries and photovoltaic panels, as well as buildings that through their thermal inertia and thermal storage can provide “multi-energy” demand response. At the same time, participation in the provision of flexibility through suitable markets could open up new business opportunities for emerging, low-carbon distributed energy resources.

Who are your supervisors?

My supervisors are Prof. Pierluigi Mancarella and Dr. Iman Shames. Pierluigi is Chair Professor of Electrical Power Systems at The University of Melbourne and Professor of Smart Energy Systems at The University of Manchester UK. Both Pierluigi and Iman bring significant expertise on energy system planning and integrated multi-energy systems; they have set a high bar for my PhD accomplishments.

What do you want to do next?

I am aiming to complete my PhD in the next two years. Afterwards, I would like to continue in academia to make a real-world impact and generate new business opportunities for low-carbon technologies through my research.

Han and her supervisors warmly welcome any enquiries about her research. You can email her at and Pierluigi at


Best student paper (1st) in Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference (AUPEC) 2017.
The title of the paper is "Modelling and Valuing Multi-Energy Flexibility from Community Energy Systems", co-authored with Nicholas Good from University of Manchester, and Prof Pierluigi Mancarella.

Best student poster in National Electric Energy Conference (EECON) 2017
The title of the poster is "Multi-energy Flexibility and Grid Services from Distributed Energy Systems".

More Information

Ashley Johnson

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