Dr Nirmal Nair
BE, ME, PhD
Nirmal received his BE in Electrical Engineering from Maharaja Sayajirao University (M.S.U), Baroda, India. He completed his ME in Electrical Engineering with specialization in High Voltage Engineering from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India. After a decade of professional engineering and lecturing in India he moved to United States where he completed his PhD in Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University. During this period he also taught undergraduate papers in Computer Architecture and Foundation Course in Electrical Engineering. Thereafter in late 2004 he decided to move to New Zealand.
He has held several professional, teaching and research positions in India, USA and now in New Zealand. Presently, he is an Associate Professor at Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering of University of Auckland. His expertise involves smart grids, power system analysis, protective relaying & optimisation in the context of electricity markets and integration of DG/renewable sources into electricity networks. He serves in various capacities for IEEE New Zealand North Section, IEEE Power and Energy Society and is Secretary for CIGRE New Zealand National Committee. He is actively engaged towards University of Auckland’s outreach with power system stakeholders, internationally and in New Zealand across all sectors (generators, distributors, retailers, metering, transmission system operator, regulatory bodies, consultancies, vendors, Electricity Engineering Association etc).
His research interests span power systems in the context of protective relaying, electricity markets, voltage security, blackouts and resilience. His current focus is towards integration of distributed/renewable energy sources to electricity system with emphasis on protection (IEC 61850, SPS, WAPS), electrcitiy markets (block-chain), innovations (Smart Grid, Storage, EV & PV integration, cyber-resilience, digital twins, machine learning and AI), low-carbon transitions and energy policy.
PhD, Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA
Dissertation: Incorporating Voltage Security into the Planning, Operation and Monitoring of Restructured Electric Energy Markets.
ME, Electrical Engineering (High Voltage), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
Thesis: New Signal Processing Approaches to Estimate the Mean Curve for Impulse Waveform Parameter Evaluation (gold medal).
BE, Electrical Engineering, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, India
Project: Electrical Field Plotting using Numerical Methods.
Research | Current
- Power System Protection (IEC 61850, SPS, WAPS)
- Electricity Markets (Ancillary Services, Volatility, Demand Side Participation)
- Smart Grids (Emphasis on Substation Automation, Smart-Metering, Protection and Control)
- Integration of Renewable (Wind, Solar) and Distributed Generation into Power Systems
- High-Energy Storage and Electric Vehicle impacts on Distribution Utilities
- Electricity Resilience, Cyber-resilience, block-chain, digital twins, AI and deep learning for zero-carbon networks
Teaching | Current
- ELECTENG 309 - Power Apparatus and Systems
- ELECTENG 703/738 - Advanced Power Systems/Selected Topics in Advanced Power Systems
- ELECTENG 731 - Power Systems
- ELECTENG 735 - Green Energy Technologies
- ENERGY 722 - Energy Technology
2019: EEA 2019 Viewers Choice Best Presentation Award to Samad Shirzadi for co-authored paper "'Efficient Distribution Network Recovery following Natural Disasters: New Zealand Case Studies"
2017: EEA 2017 Best Paper "Assessing California's Distribution Resources Plan approach for NZ Distributors"
2017: Resilience to Nature's Challenge "Electricity Distribution Resilienceinformed by West Coast Alpine Fault".
2014: EEA 2014 Merit Paper Student Award Student for paper "Partial Discharge De-noising and localization algorithm using double-sided measurement and its implementation"
2012: MBIE Prestigious funding of $6.3 million+GST over six years awarded for the project "Renewable Energy and Smart Grid". Power Systems Group (PSG) leads the UoA bid of this research.
2012: Andrew P. Sage Best Transactions Paper by the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society for the paper "Intelligent Decentralised Power Distribution Automation with IEC 61850, IEC 61499 and Holonic Control", published in IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics - Part C in 2011.
2012: IEEE Region10 Outstanding Student Branch Counsellor Award.
2011: Best student presentation award for work resulting from research during EEA APEX 11 Northern Summit.
2011: Faculty of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award.
2010: Best student presentation Award for work resulting from research during EEA APEX 10 Northern Summit.
2010-16: Selected to represent New Zealand as CIGRE B5 Observer Member (Protection & Automation).
2009: Architecture of SolarNetwork (John Gorman’s ME) won the 2009 SEANZ (Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand) award for Most Innovative Product or Service.
2007-09: Electricity Engineers Association (EEA) Best Student Paper won by group for three years in a row.
2004: First prize for "Voltage Security in Deregulated Electrical Energy Markets" in the Student Research week, Texas A&M University, TX, USA.
1998: Gold Medal for securing first position in M.E at Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore, India.
1999: M.E. Dissertation was nominated by the HV Department, IISc. for National Level Award.
1996-98: Scholarship from Ministry of Human Resources, Govt. of India, for M.E. at IISc., Bangalore, India.
1983: Indian Govt. Merit Certificate for outstanding performance in secondary school examination.
Peer-Esteem and Public Engagement
2020: Won bid as to host international event IEEE TENCON 2021 supporting Auckland Advocate Alliance
2019: Interview for Wired Article on This floating solar farm is a dam clever climate change weapon
2019: Invited column Energy Transitions and Investment Trends
2018: Radio Live weekend wireless line up segment Carrington Event & Infrastructure Impacts
2018: TV1 Interview during Breakfast Program Can you use electricity from Lightning?
2018: Radio NZ viewer question segment One Quick Question
2018: Invited column Bitcoin, Cybersecurity, Electricity Resilience
2017: Timaru Herald article on Dropping hydro lake levels could see wholesale price rising
2017: The Press, Christchurch article on Research to examine aftermath of earthquake caused blackout
2017: New Zealand Herald article on Electricity Recovery during Alpine Fault Earthquake
2017: Invited column Climate Change, Carbon Policies and Education
2017: Invited column Mega Trends for New Zealand in 2037
2016: Advisory Editorial Board Member for International Journal of Electrical Power & Energy Systems
2016: Invited column Benchmarking cities, Apple Energy, Bolivia's white gold, Blockchain and more
2016: Invited column Low carbon pathway, Investment supply, P2P for retail electricity and more
2015-16: Guest Editor of IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery Issue on “Frontiers of Power System Protection”
2015: Invited column Tesla home battery, Smart Cities, Councils and more
2015: Invited column Renewables & Auckland, energy chattels , self driving cars, future of universities
2015: Invited column Tertiary Education Trends, technology patent, energy snapshot & blackouts
2014: Vice-Chancellor's Lecture Empowering Electricity Network Consumers through Smart Grid Technologies
2014: Invited column “State of Affairs: NZ Engineering Education & Global Smart Energy Innovation”.
2014: Editor of IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy.
2014: Elected as Secretary CIGRE NZ.
2014: Invited column on “Energy and Emissions Stock-take: 2014”.
2013: Radio NZ interview resulting from Energy Policy paper on Solar Energy for Auckland
2013: Video Interview on Solar potential of Auckland and its future implications
2013: Expert Opinion on TVOne(NZ).
2013: Invited Café Scientifique presentation The empowered energy consumer of the future-choice or confusion”.
2012: General Chair for IEEE POWERCON Conference to be held in Auckland, 30 Oct- 2 Nov, 2012 www.powercon2012.com.
2011: Counsellor, Auckland University IEEE Student Branch (SB) won Region 10 Best SB Award.
2010: Academic mentor of team ‘One Beep’ which won third place in 2010 Microsoft Imagine Cup.
- Former Energy Theme Leader - Faculty of Engineering
- Former Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
- Power System Group (PSG) Research Leader
Areas of expertise
- Electrical power systems
- Renewable energy integration
- Smart Grid
- Power system protection
- Energy policy
- CIGRE B5 Global Strategic Advisory Group Member- New Networks Requirements (2018-)
- IEEE PES Governing Board Plus as Chair of Long Range Planning on Education (2019- )
- IEEE Region 10 Executive Committee as Professional Activities Chair (2019-20)
- Auckland Advocates Alliance Member (2017- )
- Senior Member IEEE, IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Member
- IEEE PES Governing Board Plus: Constitution & Bylaws Chair (2012-18 ), Nominations & Appointment Committee Member (2012-13), Long Range Planning Commitee Member (2014 - )
- IEEE New Zealand North Section: Chair (2009-10), Student Branch Counsellor (2005-11 ), Student Activities Chair (2011-), PES/PELS Chapter Chair (2012-15 )
- Executive Committee Member, CIGRE New Zealand National Committee (2008- ). Served as Secretary (2014-17)
- Representing NZ industry as CIGRE B5-Protection and Automation Observer Member in CIGRE International (2010-16)
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Paaso, A., Bahramirad, S., Beerten, J., Chiu, B., Enayati, B., Hederman, B., ... Montero, C. (2020). Sharing Knowledge on Electrical Energy Industry's First Response to COVID-19. IEEE PES Resource Centre Related URL.
- Liu, Y., Wotherspoon, L., Nair, N.-K. C., & Blake, D. (2020). Quantifying the seismic risk for electric power distribution systems. STRUCTURE AND INFRASTRUCTURE ENGINEERING10.1080/15732479.2020.1734030
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Liam Wotherspoon
- Chopra, A. R., & Nair, N. K. C. (2020). A Review of Methodical Decentralisation of Energy and Energy Transactions Utilising Distributed Ledger via Transition Architecture Based Framework. 2020 IEEE Power and Energy Conference at Illinois (PECI) Champaign, IL, USA, USA: IEEE. 10.1109/peci48348.2020.9064650
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Abhinav Rakesh Chopra
- Farzinfar, M., Nair, N. K. C., & Bahadornejad, M. (2020). A New Adaptive Load-Shedding and Restoration Strategy for Autonomous Operation of Microgrids: A Real-Time Study. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING, 33 (1), 82-91. 10.5829/ije.2020.33.01a.10
- Rehman, E. U., & Nair, N. K. C. (2019). Geo-spatial modeling for high voltage underground cables to improve resilience. 2019 IEEE PES Asia-Pacific Power and Energy Engineering Conference (APPEEC) Macau, China. Related URL.
- Bule, L. E., Tanton, A., Baillie, R., & Nair, N. K. C. (2019). Data-driven analytics for effective energy management and audits of large enterprise. 2019 IEEE PES Asia-Pacific Power and Energy Engineering Conference (APPEEC) Macao, China. Related URL.
- Sumaya, R. J., Nkom, B., & Nair, N. K. C. (2019). Island Power System Operation with Single-Wire Earth Return (SWER), Solar PV and Diesel Generation - Marinduque, Philippines Case Study. Paper presented at 29th Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference, (AUPEC), Marriott Resort, Fiji. 26 November - 29 November 2019. Related URL.
- Li, H. A., & Nair, N. K. C. (2019). A Blockchain-based Distributed Non-cooperative Transactive Energy Market. IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting. 10.1109/PESGM40551.2019.8973693
- Media Contact
Primary office location
ENGINEERING BLOCK 5 - Bldg 405
Level 6, Room 643
5 GRAFTON RD