6 questions, 7 answers

“My job is to model and simulate power grids”

Name: Dorothee Peters
Field of study: Engineering physics
Now: Institute of Networked Energy Systems


Dorothee Peters studied engineering physics. She joined DLR in 2015 while completing her master’s degree and is now a member of the scientific staff at the Institute of Networked Energy Systems in Oldenburg, where she works in the Department of Energy Systems Technology. She talks about her work in this interview.

 

1. Dorothee, what do you look forward to when coming to work in the morning?

I look forward to conducting my own research in such a fascinating field. Within the project parameters I can develop and address research questions that interest me. Apart from that, I really appreciate the flexible worktime at the institute.
 

2. What are you researching or working on?

The institute develops technologies and concepts for our future energy supply that are built on renewable energy sources. My work involves modelling and simulating power grids. As part of the ENERA project, for instance, I am currently investigating the power grid in the northwest of Germany. The primary objective is to integrate renewable energy sources and to give producers and consumers more flexibility, in order to increase the stability of the power grid. To do this, I use different types of software, such as PowerFactory and programme my own models.
 


„The primary objective is to integrate renewable energy sources and to give producers and consumers more flexibility, in order to increase the stability of the power grid“



3. What does your typical working day involve?

Once we have formulated a research question, we come up with simulation scenarios that can give us answers. It always works best to discuss issues with colleagues who are working on related topics. The next step is to adjust the current grid and system models or to create new ones, to perform the simulations. When it’s time to analyse the results, I again meet with colleagues or project partners from other research institutes to discuss the findings. Depending on the stage of my research, there are days when I concentrate almost exclusively on programming, while others are spent sharing ideas and views with my colleagues.
 

4. Where and how is your work being used?

The results of the project I am currently working on can be used  to predict bottlenecks in the power grid, to analyse the efficiency of flexible systems or storage technology, for example. We also discuss our findings with power grid operators who can integrate the results of our research within their grid planning or operation management.
 

5. What are the highlights of your work?

Publishing a paper or attending a conference, definitely. These things really show me the relevance of my work, especially when I can talk with scientists from my field. The smaller highlights are when a simulation runs without a hitch, of course.
 


„I enjoy the friendly atmosphere at the institute and truly appreciate the supportive spirit among my colleagues“



6. What special skills can you make good use of in your job?

My ability to cope with frustration comes in particularly handy when working with highly specialised programs and their features (quirks). Thankfully, several of my colleagues work with the same programs, so we can help and motivate each other.
 

7. Leave us a final thought.

I enjoy the friendly atmosphere at the institute and truly appreciate the supportive spirit among my colleagues. I also like meeting many intelligent and interesting people as part of my work in science.

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