Working with PSE Operator is my life. Or, maybe our lives, as my sister Iwona started her career here, too. Now she is at the European Transmission headquarters of ENTSO-E. As the transmission system operator (TSO), we are at the hub of the electrical energy universe here in Poland. With interconnections to Germany, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, we live in a fast-paced interconnected world.

To meet the demands placed on us to operate the grid reliably and effectively, we must have access to world-class technologies. But technology itself is not enough. We must build a world-class team of technologists. And now, even more with a global economic downturn, our investment decisions must pay dividends. But if PSE Operator is to recruit, build up, train and keep world-class technologists, we must have a sound strategy in place and execute that strategy properly.

One of my roles here at PSE Operator is to interface with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and with our technical universities here in Poland. We must have university involvement if we are going to meet next-generation challenges.

What Can We Collaboratively Conquer?

Let me give you an example. Working with international utilities and vendors, we recently went live with our world-class Energy Management Center.

I also represent PSE Operator in our intelligent grid initiatives in Poland. Probably the most important initiative is the creation of the National Technology Platform in partnership with the Polish Regulatory Authority, the Agency for Industrial Development, the National Agency for Energy Efficiency, and the Faculty of Organization and Management at the Technical University of Łódz. The platform will constitute a technical, economic and social basis for our own Polish smart grid, leveraging work done so far by EPRI and by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

And as I travel with and meet EPRI members around the globe, it becomes increasingly clear that a coherent vision requires that we collaborate internationally, tapping into the resources of international organizations. EPRI, IEEE, CIGRÉ, CEPSI and CIRED are good places to start.

What About Price Response?

At one time, Europe was considering a super transmission system operator, but the people in Brussels, our European capitol, decided to decentralize instead. As we look at implementing market design initiatives, we need sophisticated tools to address increasingly complex designs. Here are issues we are tackling:

  • Enhanced dynamic voltage control

  • Fast simulation and dynamic modeling to address line loading constraints

  • Ability to disconnect local generation and/or load under emergency conditions

  • Increased ability/authority to handle grid congestion

  • Increased coordination between PSO Operator and distribution system operators

  • More robust re-synchronization processes requiring additional dispatcher training

  • Loss reduction investments and algorithms

  • Ability to bring on new wind (26 GW in the north region) and nuclear generation to meet carbon constraint targets.

  • Upgraded transmission systems to handle large purchases and resulting power flows

  • Increased ability for the five TSOs in the Central European Region to work seamlessly

  • Appropriate security for cross-border trades

  • Dynamic pricing that offers customers opportunities to save while reflecting underlying supply costs.

The PSE Operator was created in 2004. As of 2009, we are truly an independent company that owns all our assets including information technology and telecom infrastructure. But we don't have a blank check when it comes to expanding out our system. Being constrained with finances, we must really take advantage of technology, and this is why we value international cooperation.

We at PSE Operator need a firm technical foundation if we are to deliver world-class service. And that requires a solid technical education so that we will be prepared to meet the challenges tomorrow will bring.

PSE Operator cannot afford to make an initial investment in technology, only to have the budget plug pulled when budgets get tight. Instead, we are building out the incentives to bring industry and educators together so that we can build out a lasting platform for innovation.

Magdalena Wasiluk-Hassa ( is director of Innovation and External Funds Department at PSE Operator S.A (Polish Power Grid Company). She is a member of the IEEE, CIGRÉ, the Polish Association of Electrical Engineers and the Polish Electricity Association.