With a PhD in electrical engineering, two patents and numerous academic papers to his name, and more than 30 years of experience in the energy industry under his belt, Tom Bialek is a fount of knowledge when it comes to the technical challenges facing America’s power grid and the potential solutions.
One of his areas of expertise is solving the challenge of integrating more renewable energy into the power grid, while maintaining grid stability.
The commitment with which he tackles this challenge and others extends beyond SDG&E. In addition to his day to day job as chief engineer, Tom serves on several leading technical panels where he lends his expertise and shares lessons learned with peers and providing direction to public agencies dedicated to modernizing America’s power grid:
Tom was recently nominated and accepted to serve on the EAC and is the Vice-Chair of the Smart Grid Subcommittee, which advises the U.S. Department of Energy on strategy for long-range planning, grid modernization, electricity reliability, security, and policy issues of concern. At its most recent meeting, the committee discussed regulatory reforms that focused on enhancing grid resilience with energy storage, and integrating the battery storage capacity of electric vehicles into the grid.
Tom chairs the NREL Energy Systems Integration Technical Review Panel and sits on NREL’s Energy Advisory Board. NREL focuses on solving energy challenges, including advancing fundamental science, clean technologies and integrated energy systems with real-world impacts. SDG&E has a long history of collaboration with NREL to advance technological innovations. One of our collaborative efforts is conducting research on the Borrego Springs Microgrid – the first large utility-scale microgrid built by SDG&E to enhance energy reliability in a community susceptible to extended outages due to its remote location and weather patterns.
Tom is a member of the Energy Advisory Board for SNL, which has a strong focus on modernizing the power grid to enhance sustainability and reliability. Sandia conducts research to advance the safety and performance of grid-scale energy storage systems. In addition, it collaborates with the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Defense to enhance national grid security, including cybersecurity.
Tom is a frequent speaker at energy industry conferences. To learn more about his career and what inspired him to become an electrical engineer, check out this profile on him.