Smart Power Expert visits CPIT

Smart Power Expert visits CPIT

A world leading ‘smart power network’ professor visited CPIT’s trades campus this month to talk to electrical tutor Andrew Massie about his experiences helping to repair damage to the Christchurch power distribution network following the February and June earthquakes.

G. Kumar Venayagamoorthy, Lecturer of Electrical Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, is internationally renowned for his work on the development and applications of advanced computational algorithms for real-world applications, including power systems stability and control, sensor networks, smart grid applications, and signal processing. He visited CPIT with Canterbury University Electrical Engineering lecturer Professor Neville Watson, who is also a leading expert. While at CPIT, he met Andrew Massie, Acting Dean of Trades David Gough and Electrical and Plumbing Manager Stephen Price and was given a tour of the CPIT’s Tradefit high voltage network site.

During his Academic Study Leave placement at Connetics this year, Andrew found himself up close to the substantial earthquake damage to the Christchurch power system. He participated in repair work and documented his experiences in a blog with photos and videos.  

“I was there learning the cable jointing and line mechanic trades, but when the February earthquake happened everything changed. As soon as the earthquake happened I saw it as an opportunity to help fix Christchurch and to learn. In that way I was in the right place at the right time. I was in the trenches with the boys.

“I took tons of photos and video to use as teaching resources. I ended up with 20 gigs of material and I have shared this with the professors.”

Andrew said it was a “huge honour” to have both professors on campus and to share experiences with them for several hours.

“We have established a relationship where we will share resources,” he said.

Professor Venayagamoorthy was in Christchurch to speak at a Canterbury University workshop on Smart Power Networks. Part of his research is to study natural disaster damage to power networks.

Professor Neville Watson and Andrew have since co-written a paper on damage to the Christchurch distribution network which is currently awaiting review by the NZ Earthquake Engineers Society and publication in the society’s magazine.

Andrew said it felt strange at first to be back teaching “in a warm classroom” at CPIT but he was pleased to be teaching the electrical engineers who will help rebuild Christchurch.