CHARLESTON — A renewable energy expert who has held several leadership positions in industry and academia will play a central role in building Clemson University’s new research and graduate education programs at its fast-growing site in North Charleston.

Johan Enslin is Clemson University’s new Duke Energy Endowed Chair in Smart Grid Technology and director of the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center.

Johan Enslin

Johan Enslin

Enslin comes to Clemson from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he served as the director for the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center, or EPIC, and the Duke Energy Distinguished Chair in Power System.

Enslin, who starts at Clemson on Oct. 1, is an expert in power system planning, power electronics and the integration of large-scale solar and wind power to the electric grid. He has held several leadership positions in private business and academia and is a fellow in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, commonly known as IEEE.

Enslin said that what excites him most about his new roles at Clemson is building a new program in North Charleston.

“I’ve tracked the history of Clemson, and it’s got some key goals that have the university on track to become a premiere research institution,” he said. “That’s a positive trend. I’m looking forward to this opportunity.”

Robert Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, welcomed Enslin to Clemson and said that the university will continue to build its collaboration with UNC Charlotte.

“Clemson and UNC Charlotte have a strong working relationship in the area of electric power,” Jones said. “The best example is our joint participation in the Center for Advanced Power Engineering Research, which also includes N.C. State. We look forward to growing that collaboration with Dr. Enslin in his new role at Clemson.”

Robert E. Johnson, dean of The William States Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte, commended Enslin on a job well done.

“The Lee College of Engineering  was fortunate to have Dr. Enslin’s extensive industry and university experience as he led EPIC,” Johnson said. “We wish him well in his future endeavors and look forward to continuing to collaborate with him in his new role at Clemson.”

Daniel L. Noneaker, chair of the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clemson, said that Enslin’s extensive leadership experience uniquely qualifies him for his new roles at Clemson.

“We are confident that Clemson’s academic program in North Charleston will thrive under his leadership and we look forward to seeing all that we accomplish over the next few years,” Noneaker said.

Enslin’s new role as Duke Energy Smart Grid Chair at Clemson calls for him to lead the development and growth of research initiatives in emerging electric-grid technologies. The research program will build upon Clemson’s unique research facilities in at the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston.

The facilities now include a wind-turbine drivetrain testing and research facility and the Duke Energy eGRID. These two projects form the cornerstone of the SCE&G Energy Innovation Center and are the largest such facilities in the world. The facilities represent more than $110 million in public and private investment.

Enslin will also provide leadership in the growth of Clemson’s graduate research and education programs at the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center, which is also at Clemson’s North Charleston site.

The programs that Clemson is currently offering at the site include master’s degrees and Ph.D. degrees in computer engineering, electrical engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering; a Master of Fine Arts in Digital Production Arts; and a Ph.D. in computer science.

Enslin has a combined a 34-year career with leadership in industry and academia, serving as an executive for private business operations and a professor in electrical engineering. He has worked in the United States, Europe and South Africa.

Enslin initiated and led renewable energy teams, companies and executed multidisciplinary power system projects. Over the course of his career Enslin worked for more than 80 U.S., European, Asian and African power utilities, governments and industries.

Before going to work at UNC Charlotte, he was chief technology officer for Petra Solar, a renewable energy technology company based in New Jersey.

Enslin has authored and co-authored more than 280 technical journal and conference papers for IEEE and other organizations and has written several chapters in scientific books. He is a longtime leader in the IEEE and CIGRÉ working groups and committees.

Enslin holds more than 21 provisional and final patents. He received the 2014 Charlotte Business Journal Energy Leadership Award and Graduate of Leadership North Carolina, Class XXII. He is a registered Professional Engineer in South Africa and fellow of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers.