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Dr Robert Edinger with Son David



MS Computer & Electrical Engineering

I have always been fascinated by the wisdom of Albert Einstein who once said that: “Logic will get you from A to B but imagination will take you everywhere.” Knowing that no technological advancement can ever come to reality without the hard work and creative imagination of dedicated researchers, I look forward to giving my all to the advancement of my field of study, through imagination, creativity, and perseverance. The University of XXXX is my first choice for graduate study and it is my sincere hope as an Iranian man to contribute to and benefit from the international fellowship of your highly diverse academic community.

 During the last year, my research has been focused on the creation of the zonal and nodal wholesale electric power market of New England. The central part of my research is focused on modeling the development of renewable resources across the region and potential means to reduce clearing prices and production costs at the same time that a reduction of greenhouse gases and emission costs is also achieved. The main challenge that I face has been to consider the uncertainties that are inherent in projecting the underlying factors and key variables involved in the cost of electricity in the future. The complex interrelationships among these variables make the forecasting of long-term electricity costs a most challenging exercise, especially in light of the volatility of fuel prices volatility in today’s world.  I study various generation and transmission expansions and their combinations in order to arrive at a reasonable estimate of the range of likely electricity prices over the long term, taking into account the uncertainties of load forecasting and national and regional regulations regarding emission costs.

 New electric power market environments call for new measures of optimization and efficiency. One of the drawbacks of traditional optimization approaches to production cost minimization is that higher clearing prices for end users may still result even if production cost is minimized. Recent investigations into the “Payment Minimization” method have established that the minimization of clearing prices may indeed result in higher production costs. Admittedly, both methods have some merit according to the principles of social welfare maximization; however, I have found that neither of them is adequate for a full accounting of optimization methods for new market environments. For example, neither of these methods is able to adequately address the optimization problems of dependency on foreign oil and the need for greenhouse gas reduction. Of key interest here are the similarities between communication networks and power grids in terms of congestion management, deregulated pricing, and cost optimization, and I have been taking a critical look at how most of the studies published in this area have tended to overlook these similarities, thereby seeking to draw conclusions concerning how lessons learned regarding communication networks can be most effectively utilized in deregulated electric power markets. An examination of comparative communication market solutions, such as achieving Nash equilibrium in a non-cooperative environment, helps to shed light on the critical issues surrounding the utilization of power in markets in the future.

 The electric power market faces profound challenges with respect to the utilization of renewable energy resources: Solar energy is extremely expensive for any large scale generation plant. Wind resources are extremely difficult to dispatch due to the uncertainties of wind speed and direction, biomass resources are not economically competitive, and fuel cell units have major drawbacks in terms of unit durability. Moreover, we face profound challenges in terms of market structure and policy making, both of which are critical for the development of renewable energy resources. Infrastructure upgrade may be one of the most challenging issues facing the electric power market, especially for power transmission networks. Extensive transmission network upgrades are essential for massive transfer of power from the areas of the country with high availability of renewable resources—especially wind—to other areas. I find the analogy of the interstate highway system to be especially useful for understanding how the design of a transmission infrastructure upgrade system might not only reinforce the energy infrastructure but also stimulate the economy.

 During this past year, I have completed three different research projects on the subjects of multi-objective optimization in electric power markets, optimal biomass dispatch in New England, and meeting the energy needs of New England with transmission network expansion throughout the region. I have submitted two papers to IEEE Transaction on this issue of power delivery and will also soon submit the third one.

 A Chinese proverb says: “A person shows what he is by what he does with what he has.” During the last few years working in a business environment, all of my research has been carried out in research-unfriendly environments. I have not been surrounded by a group of trained investigators nor have I had easy access to libraries with vast resources, such as the one at XXXX, which is essential for any research project. Nevertheless, I pressed on and have been defining my ongoing research on the basis of the problems that I see around me, looking for answers with the limited resources at my disposal. For me, hard work, extraordinary curiosity, scientific idealism, personal discipline, professional integrity, and hope, define who I am and where I am going with my research.

 I have an excellent track record of dedication to my education. I was ranked among the top 0.5% applicants among more than 130,000 applicants for state universities in an extremely competitive nation-wide entrance exam in my native Iran and graduated at the top of my class at Iran’s University of Science and Technology in the Electrical Engineering Department, majoring in electric power.  My graduate studies in the US began at XXXX Institute. After the cultural shock of the first semester, I became a 4.0 student. While at Rensselaer, I also became employed full time at General Electric, yet continued to earn a 4.0 in all of my courses.

 We face enormous problems with respect to the future of our electric power industry. Thus, I appeal to your program so as to be able to utilize the vast resources of the U of I so that I will be in the best position to contribute to meeting these challenges. I will not weaken, tire, or be intimidated by the difficulties associated with the task at hand. President Kennedy once said: “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.” This is why I feel strongly that I am a strong candidate for admission to your program, because of the intensity and creativity of my imagination, drive, and determination to be among the best in my field.

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