All posts by Jianing Li

Distinguished CIGRE experts sharing their insights on energy challenges and opportunities

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Rob Stephen, President of CIGRE, previously master specialist for T&D technologies at Eskom and Adam Middleton, chair of CIGRE UK, CEO at Siemens Energy B.V., shared their insights on energy challenges and opportunities with young engineers through an online webinar on 19th August 2020. There were about 70 people attending the event.

The webinar is the first session of Birmingham Power Systems Young Professionals Seminar Series, organised by the CIGRE UK NGN (Next Generation Network) and hosted by the University of Birmingham. The Theme for the webinar is Global and UK Energy Challenges and Opportunities for Young Members.


Jingyi Wan, Chair of CIGRE UK NGN, cable system specialist at Mott MacDonald, in her opening address introduced CIGRE, CIGRE Paris and key benefits of joining the CIGRE NGN, including her journey with CIGRE Young Member Showcase and CIGRE Paris.

Professor Xiao-Ping Zhang, Chair in Electrical Power Systems, Director of Smart Grid at the University of Birmingham, gave an opening address. He welcomed two very distinguished speakers Dr Rob Stephen, President of CIGRE and Mr Adam Middleton Chairman of CIGRE UK. Also welcome all the participants to take the time to join this webinar.


Prof Zhang then highlighted the Energy research at Birmingham including smart grids, HVDC and FACTS, renewable energy control, energy storage, energy materials, transport, and energy policies. Prof Zhang mentioned that Birmingham is a great city very much related to the 1st industrial energy revolution, i.e., triggered by the development of commercial steam engines by James Watt in Birmingham in 1776. In recent years, Birmingham was named as the National Energy ‘Capital’. This would certainly encourage exciting low carbon energy technology developments as well as international collaborations.  Finally, he pointed out that the energy challenges could not be tackled by a single country alone. International collaborations become essential for successfully implementing the Paris agreement on Climate Change. CIGRE is certainly an excellent platform to facilitate international collaborations, propose innovative smart grid solutions and support individual career developments.


Rob Stephen first highlighted the conflicting nature between ‘high reliability and security of supply’, ‘most economical solution’ and ‘best environmental protection’ aspects of power system. Rob then introduced the CIGRE’s technical activities (16 Study Committees, around 230 Working Groups with over 3800 experts from all over the world) and the structure of CIGRE. He then moved on to share his view on the challenges and opportunities from an extensive range of power system aspects, including active distribution networks, massive exchange of information, integration of HVDC/power electronics, significant installation of storage, new systems operations /controls, new concepts for protection, new concepts in planning, new tools for technical performance, increased use of existing infrastructure and new T&D developments and stakeholder awareness. Finally he highlighted the Power to Gas technology as the ‘Next Disruptor’, the potential of ‘e-Hydrogen Future Network’ and the grand vision of North Sea Wind Power Hub.  During Q&A session, he explained how CIGRE Steering Committee interacts with Technical Council and provided advice to young professionals on how to get involved in CIGRE and engage with the wider power community.


Adam Middleton started off his presentation on his understanding of global megatrends – Decarbonization, Decentralization, Digitalization, Demand Growth and Diversity of Solutions. Adam highlighted the importance of considering effectiveness, sustainability of solutions, societal acceptability, and the need to act now to tackle the challenge. He also pointed out that the key to energy transition is ‘about how we get there and the only way we get there is to start with what we have’. He moved on to share his view of the impact of COVID-19 by adding new volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity to energy transition. He mentioned the important role of national governments under COVID-19 in supporting the recovery and transition of energy industry to move into a more sustainable future – ‘do not waste a good crisis’, said Adam. Finally, he emphasised the important role of considering sector coupling, the need of green hydrogen (from electrons to molecules) and the technical and economic challenges associated with it. During Q&A, Adam pointed out the importance of considering whole life cycle process when assessing the ‘Green level’ of a specific solution.


The webinar was moderated by Dr. Ying Xue, Secretary & Treasurer of CIGRE UK NGN and Lecturer of Electrical Power Networks in the University of Birmingham.

CIGRE UK NGN Intro and Mentoring Scheme

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‘Career Management and Grid Modernization Workshop – With a relaunch of the CIGRE UK Young Members Mentoring Program’ was held successfully, with 163 registrations and 237 participants. We hope you enjoyed our workshop.

Our guest speaker, John McDonald from GE and CIGRE USNC shared his abundant experience about his life and work. The technological details about Grid Modernisation, data management, Smart Grid were also introduced during the workshop.

Mentoring during the career has also been heavily discussed during the workshop. CIGRE UK NGN mentoring scheme is a fantastic opportunity for the young professionals to get involved in CIGRE and connect with leaders in the power system industry.

Special thanks to John McDonald for sharing his knowledge with CIGRE UK members. Great work from our young member team Jingyi Wan, Zong Wen Yan, Haichuan Yu and Zhenkun Yang.

Recording for the session:

CIGRE UK NGN Intro and Mentoring Scheme Slides:

Grid Modernization Slides:

Key Insights Slides:

Additional Resources:
Q&A answered during the workshop (verbally, see recording for answers) and answered after the workshop in writing:

Form to show preliminary Interest for CIGRE UK NGN Mentoring Scheme:

Webinar: Chartership and Career Path

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Webinar: Chartership and Career Path
Date: 5th August 2020
Time: 2pm -3.30pm (UK Local Time)
Type: Webinar
The webinar has been hosted via the Zoom Online Conference Platform and has been recorded.

Event agenda:
Opening by a brief introduction of organisers – IEEE Student Branch PES Chapter at the University of Manchester and CIGRE UK NGN – 15min
Career path in Academia and IEEE fellowship:
Talk #1 by Prof Xiao-Ping Zhang, University of Birmingham– 10min + 5min Q &A
Talk #2 by Dr Panagiotis Papadopoulos, University of Strathclyde – 10min + 5min Q &A
Career path in  industry and Chartership:
Talk #3 by Dr Stephanie Hay, TNEI – 10min + 5min Q &A
Talk #4 by Dr Dechao Kong, National Grid Electricity Transmission – 10min + 5min Q &A

CIGRE UK NGN and IEE PES SBC UoM successfully hosted the event with 70 participants. A lot of inspiring discussions about the career and chartership during the Q&A sessions.

ngn stem event banner

Celebrating the amazing work of scientists and engineers in a pandemic

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CIGRE UK NGN is excited to announce the creation of Educational Demonstration, a new online programme of inspirational video contents aimed at children aged 9-14. Join us as we hear from the people working in the field of Energy to share inspiring demonstrations with fun projects.

Here is the first episode about a new generation of Engineers with Special guests about, “the fun projects you can build with Snap Circuit-A toy with electronic parts”.


Member from CIGRE UK NGN, Jianing (from University of Birmingham), Jingyi (from Mott MacDonald), Ying (from University of Birmingham), and Zhenkun (from University of Strathclyde), together with special Guests, Alastair and Luke contributed their enthusiasm and creativity to the first episode.

If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute, please contact:

CIGRE NGN Joint Wind Energy Webinar

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On Wednesday 17th, June 2020, 14:00 – 16:00 (BST), the CIGRE UK and CIGRE Ireland NGN came together to have their first joint, online webinar on wind energy.

The event was based on the background of the growing research and application of wind energy in the past decades of years. In 2019, 60.4 GW of wind energy capacity was installed globally, a 19% increase from installations in 2018 and the second-best year for wind historically. Total capacity for wind energy globally is now over 651 GW. So how can we exploit the full potential of wind energy?

Four guest speakers were invited to share their perspective and experience on wind energy, including the latest research and development, pilot and commercial projects. The detailed information of the guest names and corresponding topics were:

  • Professor Vladimir Terzija, “Smart Frequency Control in Power Systems with a High Penetration of Nonsynchronous Generation”
  • Dr Peter Wall, “Identifying scarcities on the All-Island system in 2030 – perspectives from EU-SysFlex”
  • Tolulope Mayomi, “The opportunities of dynamic line rating for overcoming curtailment challenges”
  • Dr Xianxian Zhao, “Fast Frequency Support from Wind Turbine Systems by Arresting Frequency Nadir Close to Settling Frequency”

The event was successfully organised with more than 100 participants. Apart from the presentations, interactive polls and Q&A sessions were also taken place. With the rapid development of wind energy technology, the wind generation is anticipated to be one of the most significant contributors to meet the UK’s ambitious net-zero emission target.



CIGRE NGN Young Member Showcase Competition

CIGRE NGN Young Member Showcase Competition

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In anticipation of the upcoming Global Young Member Showcase event in CIGRE Paris Session in August 2020, the NGN Committee of CIGRE UK hosted a presentation competition at the University of Manchester on 5th February 2020 to select UK young professional representatives for this global showcase event in Paris. This event allowed for a select group of young professionals to showcase their contributions to the latest solutions across the whole energy value chain, from generation to distribution, allowing for the opportunity to win tickets to the CIGRE Paris Session 2020 and potentially a bursary for travelling.

The abstracts submitted by the candidates were firstly assessed by the NGN steering committee and 10 candidates were invited to present their work in the presentation competition event on 5th February 2020, where they were judged by a panel of four senior CIGRE UK members, with extensive combined experience across a range of working categories in the energy sector. The CIGRE UK NGN committee is glad to announce that the four successful candidates to be nominated for attendance of the Paris Session in 2020 are:

  • Victor Timmers, a graduate power system engineer at Mott MacDonald, delivered an engaging presentation focusing on the development of a zero missing phenomenon identification tool.
  • Giulio Riccardi, an electrical engineer at Mott MacDonald, provided an overview of how digital engineering facilitates cable system design focusing on the Wimbledon cross site cable system project.
  • Gen Li, a researcher at Cardiff University, presented a striking method for analysis and protection of valve-side single-phase-to-ground faults in HB-MMC based bipolar HVDC systems.
  • Polly Osborne, an electrical power engineer at Burns & McDonald, delivered an exciting presentation outlining an innovative local energy master plan to decarbonise an industrial town, utilising a whole-system approach to energy.


Offshore wind - Denmark

Joint webinar on “Offshore Wind Energy” with Young Cigre Denmark

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Our webinar about “Offshore Wind Energy” jointly organized with Young Cigre Denmark was held successfully with over 170 attendees on Friday 2nd October. We hope you had a good time to this first webinar in collaboration with Denmark National Committee!

Our guest speakers, Lorenzo Zeni and Troels Stybe Sørensen from Ørsted gave us an overview about HVDC connected offshore wind farms and a perspective on the development of offshore wind in Ørsted respectively.
Steven Blair from Synaptec demonstrated integrated protection and condition monitoring for offshore wind using passive distributed sensing. Furthermore, GEN LI from Cardiff University School of Engineering presented the state-of-the-art of HVDC and offshore wind technologies in EU countries.


Behind the scene,

CIGRE UK NGN: Jingyi Wan, Ying Xue, Max McFarlane, Jianing Li

CIGRE DK NGN: Syed Hamza Kazmi, Qian Wang, Daniela Pagnani

You can find the slides in the link below:


CIGRE NGN Visit to St John’s Wood Substation, London, England

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On Tuesday 26th November 2019, members of the CIGRE UK NGN visited the St John’s Wood substation in London, one of most compact and complex substations operated by National Grid. This substation is the grid supply point (GSP) for both Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea boroughs. St John’s Wood substation hosts what is known as The London Connection, a 20km tunnel for a 400kV XLPE cable connection between Elstree and St John’s substation. This connection supports the supply for North West London and the City.

Before starting the visit around the substation, Julio Perez gave an overview of CIGRE UK and the activities organised by the NGN. Following this, James Watson from National Grid delivered a technical presentation on the importance of St John’s substation in the high-voltage supply for London, its configuration, as well as the type of equipment found at the substation.
After a safety briefing by James, the first stop was The London Connection underground tunnels, which houses the 400kV XLPE cables used for the connection to another major substation, Elstree. The London Connection is part of a series of underground tunnels designed to meet the increasing electricity demand from London whilst minimising road disruption.


Then we visited one of the buildings containing some of the gas-insulated switchgear, to reconfigure the supply points when required. James explained to us how the gas-insulated mechanism operated to interrupt an arc when opening circuit breakers and also what are the main procedures for managing faults. At the end of the visit, we had the chance to visit one of the main super-grid transformers which serve to step-down the voltage from the transmission level, from 400kV to 132kV.


CIGRE NGN Visit to Neilston Substation, Glasgow, Scotland

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On Tuesday 10th Sep 2019, the CIGRE UK NGN hosted an event in Glasgow. The whole day event was composed of a series of technical presentations, from both industry and academia, followed by a visit to the Neilston substation.

Professor Campbell Booth, Head of the EEE Department at the University of Strathclyde opened the session. The first talk was an introduction of CIGRE delivered by Jingyi Wan, the CIGRE UK NGN Secretary and Treasurer. Followed by Dr Min Zhang from the University of Strathclyde, on how superconductors offer new solutions for the modern grid and a feasibility study of superconducting cables in the UK distribution network.


Dr Diptargha Chakravorty from TNEI presented his work on the Electric Spring, a controllable load for voltage and frequency regulation – jointly developed by Imperial and Hong Kong university.

Next, Mr Marcel Nedd from the University of Strathclyde introduced Frequency Containment, Electricity System Operator’s concepts for new dynamic frequency response service and how these services could affect the penetration limits of non-synchronous power infeed in GB.

Finally, Mr Antony Cooke from South Humber Bank Power Station presented what is a Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGT), how synchronous generators respond to frequency excursions and how a CCGT’s control concept could be modified to provide faster response to frequency.


The afternoon session started with an overview of Phoenix project by Mr Craig Hume from Scottish Power Energy Networks followed by a visit to the Neilston substation. The Phoenix project explores the option of combining two technologies; Synchronous Condensers and Static Compensators to develop a hybrid solution.


CIGRE NGN-IEEE Student Branch Joint Event, University of Manchester, UK

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On Wednesday 17th July 2019, the IEEE Student Branch UoM and the CIGRE UK NGN co-hosted an event at The University of Manchester. The event attracted 24 attendees, mostly new MSc and first-year PhD students.

The event had two primary aims: to increase awareness of IEEE Student Branches / Chapters and CIGRE NGN; and bring attention to the types of resources useful to young researchers produced by the IEEE and CIGRE.

These aims were met in the event through three talks. The first was delivered by James Hill, the CIGRE-UK NGN Institutions Collaborations Lead and Past-Chair of the IEEE PES Student Branch Chapter at UoM. His talk introduced the two institutions of IEEE and CIGRE, explained which publications are available from them, and how to be involved and get the most from the Student / NGN societies.

After this introduction, Prof. Paul Jarman explained how research can actively influence the direction that standards take, and conversely, how standards can help to influence and direct our research. Prof. Jarman drew on his vast experience from involvement with standards related to transformers to explain the process required for their establishment and revision.

Finally, Dr. Mathaios Panteli presented on his experience as a young researcher involved in a CIGRE working group during his PhD. He highlighted how beneficial this was to his career and how ideas he got from conversing with the senior personnel he was exposed to in this environment helped to add significant value to his final thesis.

CIGRE NGN Visit to Boskalis’ Cable Barge, Vlissingen, Netherlands 

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On Thursday 3rd May 2018 a group of 14 Cigre-UK NGN members travelled to the Netherlands for a unique opportunity to visit Boskalis’ Giant 7 cable barge.

The day started with technical presentations at Boskalis’ offices in Vlissingen where attendees were able to learn about subsea cable installation and repairs, and the interesting challenges faced. This was followed by an introduction to some of Boskalis’ past and present projects as well as a visit to their storage site at Vlissingen port where there was the opportunity to see the newly-built BS-III trenching tool .Cable-ship-2-300x225

In the afternoon, the group travelled to Rotterdam where the Giant 7 barge  was docked. The barge was being made ready for service and this allowed a great opportunity to explore and to understand the amount of work that goes in behind the scenes before the cable and trenching tool can be brought on board.

We would like to thank all of our attendees for their enthusiasm and questions throughout the day, and of course the team at Boskalis for their hospitality and especially for letting us stay on board for an extra couple of hours due to the interest and number of questions! Special mention goes to Hans Veth and Jack Wattel at Boskalis and to Tony Zymelka from ESCA (European Subsea Cables Association)/BBP Cables for their support in the organisation of this unique and fantastic event.

Following this success, we hope to add another cable ship visit to our 2020 events calendar so watch out for information on this soon!cable-ship-1-300x225

CIGRE Paris Session 2018 Young Member (YM) Showcase

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On Tuesday 20th February the Young Member (YM) Showcase competition was held at Manchester University to select 4 candidates to be put forward to the international round of the competition. The day consisted of 10 short-listed presentations which where judged by Carl Baker, Qiang Liu, Suipipi Weerasinghe, Simon Sutton and Aruna Gunatilake.
The lucky winners will now be put forward as the UK nominations to the international YM showcase for an opportunity to present at the CIGRE Paris session 2019. Up to 32 Young Members from across the world (2 per study committee) will be chosen for this prestigious prize.

Congratulations to the winners of the UK competition:

  • Jonathan Bowes
  • James Dixon
  • Lewis Hunter
  • Papiya Dattaray

After the presentation tours ofThe National Graphine Centre, HV lab and RTDS labwere organised. The NGN committee would like to thank Manchester University for hosting this event, and for the judges who gave up their own time to attend the event.


10 Years of NGN Evening Event

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In October 2017 we celebrated 10 years since CIGRE’s first Next Generation Network was set up here in the UK. The event was kindly hosted by Siemens UK in Manchester and successfully attracted 74 attendees. The opening speech was given by Philippe Adam, the CIGRE Secretary General. Adam Middleton, the Chair of CIGRE UK, and Jonathan Halliday, the founder of CIGRE UK NGN, gave talks to share their experience in CIGRE. The event also highlighted by the outlook for the future power system digitization technologies and wrapped up with the networking and poster session, which allow the young members to present their works.
10 Years of NGN Event – Final Agenda10-Year_Attendee-Number_New-300x300

CIGRE UK NGN Hunterston B Power Station Event

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On 28 June 2017, the CIGRE UK NGN had a successful event at the Hunterston B Power Station.  Our guest speakers Colin Foote and Alan Davenport from Scottish Power Energy Network (SPEN) gave very interesting talks on the developments in SPEN network and specifically the Western Link project. The event also included a technical tour to the plant, which gave the attendees an excellent opportunity to see and know more about how the plant is operated and maintained. The event was fully booked with 28 young professionals from utilities, consultancy companies and research institutes.hunterston-e1501859720421-300x216