Director, Technological Leadership Institute, University of Minnesota
Massoud Amin is a self-described geek on a mission. The multilingual brainiac is supercharged about transforming the electric grid into a self-healing, sustainable and resilient smart grid. The new grid would consist of a network of sensors that communicate with one another to intelligently and proactively detect outages and perform repairs automatically. Amin’s mastery of the subject has led to groundbreaking research in the electrical engineering sphere, earning him the moniker “father of the smart grid.”
Amin is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a professional organization dedicated to tech innovation, and chairman of the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter. Amin, along with IEEE, has been instrumental in devising national smart grid standards.
Amin says he came by his passion for power while growing up in the Middle East, where he saw “electricity as a linchpin of life.” This was further compounded when he visited New York City and observed how a 24-hour blackout created vulnerabilities in the city. These experiences reinforced his drive to improve an aging electrical grid.
Late last year, following Hurricane Sandy, Amin spoke with NPR about the necessity and benefits of creating a smart grid. In that interview, he said the multimillion-dollar power outages that occurred could’ve been avoided. In February, Americans received another reminder during the Super Bowl blackout — the latest in a long line of arguments for a smarter power grid.