The Late Engineer Kamal Fernando Memorial Lecture organised annually by the IESL NSW Chapter was held on 22nd August 2018 at Engineers Australia Auditorium Chatswood commencing at 6.30 pm. Over forty participants attended the lecture and an interesting and lively Q & A session followed it. The lecture was delivered by Dr Nalin Pahalawaththa, Principal Consultant, Network Planning, TransGrid, on the topic “Power System Planning – The Art of Raising a Phoenix”.



A synopsis of the lecture and brief bio-data of Dr Nalin Pahalawaththa are provided below.

Dr. Nalin Pahalawaththa
Principal Consultant, Network Planning, TransGrid
BSc Eng(Hons), PhD, MBA

Nalin Pahalawaththa is a Principal Consultant at TransGrid, the NSW electricity transmission network service provider.  From 2012 – 2016, in the capacity of manager, power system analysis at TransGrid, Nalin was responsible for the operational, medium, and long term planning of the network.

The group ensured accurate models of the power system are created and maintained, recommended robust and efficient solutions to address network constraints, and minimised investment expenditure and risks, considering demand and generation forecasts.

Prior to joining TransGrid in 2012, Nalin held senior planning roles with the Australian Energy Market Operator and Transpower New Zealand Ltd. From 1990 – 2000 Nalin held positions lecturer – associated professor at the University of Auckland and was the leader of the power systems research group.

Supporting a culture of knowledge sharing across the industry, Nalin is an active member of a number of professional organisations and industry working groups. In 2012 Nalin received the Cigre Technical Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to HVDC and Power Electronics. He recently convened the Cigre Working Group on Connection of Wind Farms to Weak AC Networks.

Power System Planning – The Art of Raising a Phoenix

Power systems have been in existence over 130 years and served the society well, along the way making it to be an essential service, often provided by monopoly service providers. Its technical form has been evolved over the years, mainly addressing the need to interconnect and stably operate large synchronous generating units which are often geographically dispersed and located away from the load centres. It is also supported by necessary and well-established planning practices, operational procedures, and governing rules.

However, the norms and ethos of this well-developed system are now being challenged by the new technological developments. Different forms of energy sources and energy uses are being created, moving us away from the familiar form of the power system that has served our societies well over a century.

No doubt, the future state of the power system, when we reach there would be a happy place to live and enjoy. But the transition will be difficult and paths are not well charted. This presentation will explore how well we can manage the transition, balancing the cost of transition, robustness of the power supply, and the potential environmental impacts.

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