Michael Legatt

Principal Human Factors Engineer | ERCOT

Michael Legatt serves as the principal human factors engineer for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the independent system operator that manages the flow of electricity to 22.7 million Texas customers. Dr. Legatt has been a programmer for over 20 years, and worked in the energy, financial, medical, neuroscience research and educational sectors.

He has a Ph.D. in clinical health psychology/neuropsychology from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in energy systems engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a patent for a neuropsychological test of visual attention that measures both visual pathway function and visual attention, and aims to help better diagnose issues in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, developmental dyslexia, traumatic brain injury and schizophrenia.

His development of the Macomber Map® has been featured in the New York Times, National Public Radio and T&D World. The Macomber Map was credited as being instrumental in helping ERCOT operators maintain grid reliability during several record-setting wind generation levels since 2010, and through several severe weather events since 2009. Macomber Map is now freely available as an open-source application.

He also works on the behavioral aspects of consumer electric use, researching electric vehicle to grid integration, behavioral aspects of conservation and consumer awareness in grid management, and the cybersecurity, behavioral, and reliability issues that arise with integration of new technologies across layers of the grid. He is ERCOT’s lead on a collaborative project with the University of Texas at Austin, EV-TEC and the Pecan Street Project to study integrating electric vehicle charging and driver behavioral patterns with the bulk electric system. This research project looks at the viability of EVs to intelligently charge in a distributed fashion and provide ancillary services. Michael also serves as a founding advisory board member of the Central Texas Fuel Independence Project.