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Southern Company Transmission Planning Engineer (Power Electronics Emphasis) in Birmingham, Alabama

Transmission Planning Engineer (Power Electronics Emphasis)

Overview

This is one of the most exciting and dynamic times in recent history for the power industry as we evaluate and implement renewable energy and emerging technologies to build the future of energy for the advancement of our customers and communities. Transmission planning plays a critical role in Southern Company’s success in achieving this goal by continuously developing a reliable, flexible, and resilient transmission grid that meets the needs of our future.

At Southern Company, our Transmission Planning organization encompasses all aspects of planning the transmission system for our subsidiary retail electric utilities in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. This includes expertise in numerous areas such as steady-state and dynamic power system analysis, power quality and transient analysis, load modeling and base case development, annual transmission expansion plan development, reliability standards compliance, economic development transmission service evaluations, OATT transmission service requests, generator interconnection and designation studies, generation RFP procurements, unit retirement and new build evaluations, regional planning and coordination with external utilities, interface analysis, GMD and EMP analysis, transmission policy and regulatory, industry committee leadership, and tools and technology innovation. While each group within Transmission Planning has a targeted function, we foster an environment of cross-functional teamwork and collaboration and are committed to working with our employees on career and personal development in multiple areas of their interest. As a vertically integrated utility, we also have the unique opportunity to work closely with teams from across our organization in all the major business sectors.

The position listed below is in Birmingham, Alabama; however, fully remote work arrangements or hybrid work arrangements will be considered dependent upon the qualifications, skills, and experience of the successful candidate. Relocation assistance and/or sign-up bonus available, if qualified.

Job Description

This position is best suited for an individual desiring a technical career path responsible for leading and performing power system technical studies in support of various groups within Southern Company. The group provides the ideal environment for power system engineers to pursue advanced academic degrees (e.g., Masters and/or PhD.) due to exposure to a wide range of power system subjects, including unique emerging technologies encountered in the modern electric utility industry.

The successful candidate will be part of a team of engineers responsible for planning the bulk transmission system for Georgia Power Company, Alabama Power Company, and Mississippi Power Company; where the Team primary focus is System Stability (voltage stability, rotor angle stability, frequency stability, resonance stability, and converter-driven stability).

The team is expanding its capabilities and expertise in the area of inverter-based resources (IBR) and power electronic-interfaced technologies. The successful candidate will provide study support and leadership in the area of Bulk Power System (BPS)-connected IBR in support of critical system-wide stability initiatives. In addition, the successful candidate will be part of a team responsible for studying new grid technologies, developing industry recommended practices and guidance, studying and assessing emerging stability risk issues, evaluating the effects of emerging applications such as computationally intensive data center loads, evaluating power electronic-interfaced technologies such as FACTS devices; evaluating the potential for adverse interactions between IBRs and existing synchronous generators, evaluating IBR to IBR control interactions in areas with high penetration of power electronic controlled devices, evaluating emerging applications that are power electronic-coupled to the BES (e.g., E-STATCOMs, SmartValves, grid-forming inverters, etc.).

The successful candidate will collaborate with multiple groups including other teams within System Planning, Transmission Control Centers, Research and Development, Operating Company Power Delivery and Generation departments, neighboring transmission systems, etc. The position will also be responsible for presenting study results to senior leadership, management, and internal and external customers for information and support.

Job Responsibilities

The job will entail exposure to a wide range of power system analysis opportunities including:

  • Conduct or lead simulations of IBRs, with primary focus on system stability (near- and long-term horizon).

  • Analyze IBR modeling and study practices and provide recommendations to address modeling and study issues.

  • Represent Southern Company on applicable industry committees in a technical leadership role to provide guidance and ensure Sothern Company’s business needs are being met.

  • Perform electromagnetic transient (EMT) power system studies.

  • Engage with equipment manufacturers, national laboratories, research institutions, and other industry groups.

  • Evaluate the impacts of increasing levels of BPS-connected IBR and other emerging technologies to BPS reliability. Engage and work with industry experts.

  • Prepare engineering analysis, studies, and reports on BPS stability. Develop guidelines or other technical documents, as needed.

  • Collaborate with peers and industry to understand stability impacts of emerging technologies and support the reliable integration of these technologies.

  • Review, organize, and analyze study results to ensure product accuracy.

  • Research regulatory and industry initiatives affecting the stability of the BPS.

  • Coordinate with others in System Planning to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions.

  • Participate in regional and national organizations which are shaping the technical and regulatory policies such as NERC and SERC Working Groups/Task Forces, EPRI research initiatives, IEEE Standard development efforts, etc.

  • Perform other technical studies, as requested, in support of Southern Company and the Operating Companies.

Education and Professional Affiliation

  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from an ABET accredited institution is required.

  • Advanced degree (master’s and/or PhD) in Electrical Engineering, with electric power systems emphasis is desired.

Work Experience

A successful candidate will have:

  • Understanding of inverter-based resources (IBR) including solar photovoltaic, battery energy storage, hybrid power plants, and FACTs devices.

  • Experience with modeling IBR for BPS planning studies, with emphasis on dynamic modeling.

  • Understanding of advanced power and control system modeling techniques, including positive sequence and electromagnetic modeling tools such as PSCAD or EMTP-RV, etc.

  • General knowledge of transmission planning, electrical equipment, power system protection and control, and BPS operations .

  • Experience with computer programming (MATLAB, Visual Basic, Python, etc.) related to study automation.

  • Experience conducting root cause analysis of IBR performance issues and developing mitigation strategies to address stability issues.

  • Knowledge of industry standards (e.g., IEEE).

  • Experience coordinating or leading teams of technical experts.

  • Knowledge of small signal stability.

  • Experience and strong understanding of NERC Reliability Standards.

  • Understanding of NERC, SERC, FERC.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

A successful candidate will have:

  • Ability to independently analyze and resolve technical problems.

  • Strong analytical skills and a drive to solve complex engineering problems.

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

    • Communicate effectively with diverse internal groups while tailoring communication for specific technical audiences and situations. Adeptness to understand and communicate technical details to various workgroups, partners, and customers.

    • Excellent verbal communication skills both for internal meetings and presentations, and for external events on the industry level such as IEEE, NERC, SERC (or other Regional Entity), etc.

    • Excellent written communications skills are required to be successful in this position, including the ability to prepare and publish technical reports.

    • Works well in a team environment (both in-person and virtual).

    • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with peers, and customers.

    • Values teamwork and works effectively in a team environment across multiple business functions.

  • Self-motivated, results-oriented, and innovative.

  • Ability to demonstrate strong attention to detail and motivation for high quality, accuracy, and timeliness.

  • Strong time management and organizational skills required to balance multiple projects simultaneously and adhere to deadlines.

  • Ability to prioritize work effectively, exercise sound judgment, and accurately complete multiple tasks with limited oversight.

  • Knowledge of electrical theory/electrical characteristics of network transmission systems.

    • Continually review technical and industry literature to stay abreast of industry changes, technological advances, and new areas of transmission planning business opportunity.
  • Strong customer focus.

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy provider serving 9 million residential and commercial customers across the Southeast and beyond through its family of companies. Providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy with excellent service is our mission. The company has electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company with national capabilities, a fiber optics network, and telecommunications services. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, resilience, and sustainability, we are taking action to meet our customers’ and communities’ needs while advancing our commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and are the key to our sustained success. We are transforming energy into economic, environmental and social progress for tomorrow. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have earned the company national awards and recognition from numerous organizations, including Forbes, Military Times, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, J.D. Power, Fortune, Human Rights Campaign and more. To learn more, visit www.southerncompany.com.

Southern Company is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.

Job Identification: 6576

Job Category: Engineering

Job Schedule: Full time

Company: Southern Company Services

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