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Energy People: Arshad Mansoor

We talked with Arshad Mansoor, Senior Vice President, Research and Development for the Electric Power Research Institute

Fortnightly Magazine - March 2017
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Arshad Mansoor is senior vice president of research and development for the Electric Power Research Institute, responsible for EPRI's portfolio of R&D and demonstration programs. Mansoor is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is a member of the board of The Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte.

PUF's Steve Mitnick: You have a very visible role at EPRI. What are the driving priorities or particular interests that you want to emphasize?

Arshad Mansoor: EPRI is great! We have almost eight hundred folks in different offices, and that gives me energy and drive for my work.

Arshad Mansoor

If you ask anybody at EPRI about our mission, they'll say that together we can shape the future of electricity. And make sure that it remains a reliable, affordable, sustainable, and safe form of energy for the foreseeable future.

Our priority is making sure that our research looks at how electricity can remain the driver of growth for the economy, for individuals, for heating our homes, and for lighting our life. I'd put that as a main focus that drives all of us.

PUF's Steve Mitnick: EPRI is a super-lab of hundreds of world-class scientists and engineers. How do you decide what to prioritize? Or whether to bring in some people in one particular area and de-emphasize another area that's not as important anymore?

Arshad Mansoor: The engine that drives EPRI is what we call the collaboration process. We have more than fifteen hundred advisors. The advisors are folks who work in electric utilities.

They're experts in their subjects. They range from someone who is an expert on transmission line insulators to a senior V.P. of strategy.

We take that advising very seriously. We listen to the priorities that we have from our members. We also have an advisory council, which is made up of non-utility members. We have regulators that engage with us on a two-year term. They're giving us guidance from a societal perspective. They advise on some of the key areas of public benefit they think we should be engaged in.

With their input, we engage in almost fifty percent of the work we actually do with universities and with other experts. We very much engage with the national labs and some of the other places where primary research is going on.

Our research focus is a bit different than what you see in a national lab or at the National Science Foundation or a university. We're trying to bring technologies from early stage to actual adoption. We're also trying to create all the guidelines and tools that are needed so the technology can be widely applied. 

Interfacing with national labs and universities is key for us. You've got fourteen hundred utility practitioner experts, as well as the Natural Resources Defense Council, other non-governmental organizations, and the national labs and universities. We have a very structured research portfolio management process that we update

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