Energy Systems Center for Research, Education, and Innovation     (ES CREI) is one of nine Skoltech centers with was initiated in 2013 and since that time ES CREI has significantly grown in number of people, projects successfully finished, courses taught and is continuing its development. The main principle of research followed in Skoltech Center for Energy Systems is an interdisciplinary approach. We are employing or collaborating with researchers representing wide variety of disciplines (engineers, mathematicians, physicist, economists, etc.) in order to utilize advances in new technologies (ICT, communication networks and sensing) and algorithms (distributed control, networks science, complex systems)  and to create a cyber-physical energy system able to deal with the challenges of the 21st Century. We believe that in this respect Skoltech Center for Energy Systems is a unique in the world and able to deliver a significant step, rather than incremental change.

Mission Statement

  • To establish an internationally-recognized, multidisciplinary, research, education and innovation center of excellence in energy systems.
  • To engage with Russian industry to apply new developments in ICT and modern optimization and control tools to improve efficiency and resilience of the Russian power system.

Main Research Areas

  • Smart and Resilient Grids
  • Coupled Energy Infrastructures
  • Energy Markets and Regulation
  • Power Electronics and Devices

Further details can be found under  Research.

Advanced mathematical methods for energy systems
Our main focus of research is advanced mathematical methods for energy systems, involving Janusz Bialek, Misha ChertkovYury Maximov  and Anatoly Dymarski, and taking advantage of the abundance of excellent Russian mathematicians, statisticians and physicists at Skoltech and abroad. In this research w collaborate closely with our international partners: MIT (Kostya Turitsyn) and Caltech (Steven Low). We have organized an international conference in Moscow in June 2015 that attracted top scientists from MIT, Caltech, Michigan University, Cambridge University, University College London, Manchester University, Hong Kong University, ETH Zurich, Southampton University, Trapeznikov Institute of Control Sciences of RAS, Steklov Mathematical Institute of RAS, and Energy Systems Institute SB of RAS. We intend to organize an international conference in 2017 on data-driven analytics for energy systems.

Currently our research in this theme concentrates on the following areas:

  • Analysis of Power Flow equations (Power Flow equations define real algebraic variety) – (Turitsyn, Dymarski, Maximov, Chertkov)
  • Convex optimization with applications to power systems (Optimal Power Flow problems, calculation of safety margins, probabilistic approach) – (Turitsyn, Dymarski, Maximov, Chertkov)
  • Lyapunov stability analysis (Lyapunov functions constructed via convex optimization) – (Turitsyn)
  • Estimation and identification:
    • Utilizing synchronizing phasor measurements to identify power system dynamic model (Bialek, Turitsyn, Dymarski)
    • Data-driven machine learning approaches to provide statistical state estimation (Chertkov)
  • Stochastic Optimal Power Flow  of chance-constrained and robust types accounting for frequency control (Chertkov)
  • Optimal decentralized control: frequency control and congestion management for future power systems (Bialek, Low)
  • Scalable algorithms and advanced visualization for operations-aware planning of large (country scale) future transmission power systems (Chertkov, Bialek)

Coupled Energy Infrastructures
The second main area of our research is coupled energy infrastructures, led by Aldo Bischi and Misha Chertkov, that explores interaction between the main energy vectors: power/gas/heat/cooling. It is important for Russia due to widespread use of district heating. We have organized, together with International Institute for Energy Systems Integration, an international conference in Moscow in May 2016. Our main research directions in this theme are:

  • Integrated Energy Infrastructures Scheduling & Design Optimization (Bischi)
  • Advanced energy conversion systems (Bischi)
  • Large scale power plants & District Heating (Bischi)
  • Energy storage systems (Bischi)
  • Emergency control of heat networks (Chertkov)
  • Observability and controllability of pipeline networks (Chertkov)
  • Optimal combined operation of gas and power networks (Chertkov)

Power Markets and Regulation
This theme involves Janusz Bialek and we intend to restart research on power markets when a new faculty, who has just been appointed, starts in March 2017.

Power Electronics and Devices
Currently we are looking for suitable candidates to lead research in this area.

Drivers for Energy Systems Research

Power systems around the world are undergoing a period of unprecedented change. A typical 20th Century power system was characterized by unidirectional flow of power from a limited number of large controllable power stations to a highly predictable demand. There was no no energy storage (apart from very expensive pumped-storage hydro  plants) so that at any time generation had to be equal to demand and the infrastructure utilization rates were low (about 55% for generation, 30% for transmission and even lower for distribution). Generally planning and controlling such a system was relatively straightforward as it was based around principles of deterministic hierarchical control, usually based on (N-1) reliability criterion.

20th Century power system

On the other hand the emerging 21st Century power system is characterized by bi-directional flows between a very large number of uncontrollable and stochastic generators (usually, but not always, renewable ones such as wind or solar) and stochastic and often poorly-predictable demand. Demand ceases to be predictable as it consists of consumers equipped with smart meters and wind/solar generators hence possibly becoming net generators – so-called prosumers. Increased penetration of energy storage, both stationary and mobile due to a take-up of electric vehicles,  offers  buffering possibilities in dispatch (generation does not have to be equal to demand at any time). Controlling such a power system is the main research challenge in power systems and it is made possible by latest advances in ICT (Information and Control Technology), communication networks, Internet, GPS, sensors, etc. However it requires new tools and methodologies, developing of which is the main goal of Skoltech Center for Energy Systems.

Our research is not limited to power systems but rather it is aimed on energy systems due to close interactions between power, gas and heat networks (especially in Russia because of wide utilization of district heating).

21st Century power system1

Developing these new control tools and methodologies requires an interdisciplinary effort of scientists from many disciplines:

  • Mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists to address the challenges of stochastic and distributed control
  • Physicists as power systems are large-scale dynamic objects
  • Economists as any solutions may require regulatory changes and will have to be accommodated in the markets framework
  • Social scientists in order to understand customers
  • Political scientists to ensure the support of stakeholders for the changes
  • And last but not least, power engineers who understand the physical power system (and will have to keep the feet of other scientists firmly on the ground)


Russian energy system