Ostrobothnian Chamber of Commerce award to Katja Sirviö: "The energy crisis can boost the use of renewable energy"

The Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce has awarded Katja Sirviö a prize of EUR 5,000 for her doctoral dissertation on the development of electricity distribution networks. The prize was awarded on 2 September at the opening ceremony of the academic year at the University of Vaasa.

Katja Sirviö works as an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Vaasa and its research platformVEBIC. The topic of her dissertation has become very relevant: Households in Europe are suffering from skyrocketing energy prices, and the electricity distribution companies are warning about possible power outages caused by electricity shortages. 

Sirviö sees that the current energy crisis could accelerate the development of the electricity system. 

– Consumers are now wondering how to keep their electricity bills under control and how to use less electricity. There will certainly be a change in electricity consumption behaviour: people are becoming more interested in generating their own electricityand smart ways to manage electricity consumption, says Sirviö.  

Sirviö has developed a method for creating a socio-technical roadmap for the electricity distribution network. Socio-technical means that the roadmap does not include only technological development, but it also covers the evolving role of customers and the interaction between the electricity grid company and the customer.  

Sirviö identifies different stages on the roadmaps: the further we go, the more we will see distributed energy resources, active customers, and the exploitation of functionalities in ancillary services. 

– I believe that the current energy crisis will boost the use of renewable energy; there will be more solar panels and wind power. The change will take place on many levels. There will be energy communities and energy storages. This is already visible in the roadmaps. As a researcher, it will be fascinating to see the pace of change. 

The future of electricity distribution networks needs much discussion and co-creation. According to Sirviö, it would be important for different stakeholders to be involved in defining the roadmap for sustainable development of smart grids, especially active electricity distribution networks. 

"Our region is known for its expertise in the energy sector" 

The OstrobothniaChamber of Commerce Award is granted to a research project, publication, or dissertation related to the energy sector and carried out at the University of Vaasa during the previous academic year.  

– The topic of Sirviö's doctoral dissertation is very relevant to the current world situation and the energy and electricity crisis. Our region is known worldwide for its expertise in the energy sector. As the Chamber of Commerce, we want to play our part in supporting the creation of new knowledge and expertise in cooperation with the university and industry, says Director Mikael Hallbäck from the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce. 

Katja Sirviö is happy to receive this award. 

– It means that I have succeeded in my work. The award motivates me to continue my interdisciplinary approach to researching the energy transition in electricity distribution networks and interactions between distributed energy resources. 

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