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The Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment program, also known as GEARED, is a training and education framework that prepares current and future utility-sector professionals to operate the electric grid with increasingly higher levels of solar electricity.
While many programs within the SunShot Initiative drive innovations in solar technologies, one program prepares the next generation of utility professionals to make solar energy work together with the rest of the power grid. The utility sector is going through a rapid transformation as more renewables come online and more Americans choose to go solar. Adding large quantities of distributed energy onto the grid requires the workforce to acquire new knowledge and skills, which SunShot is enabling.
The Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment program, also known as GEARED, is a training and education framework that prepares current and future utility-sector professionals to operate the electric grid with increasingly higher levels of solar electricity. In its first two years, GEARED trained more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students, delivering 120 new courses and creating job, internship, and research opportunities for students to ensure these engineers are well-prepared to manage our nation’s changing power generation portfolio.
The GEARED program has been quite successful since its launch in 2013, so the program recently expanded under our Solar Training and Education for Professionals funding program. GEARED now has three training consortia and a national administrator that support teams consisting of multiple university, utility, national laboratory, and industry partners. These teams work toward integrating power systems analysis and research and development into their curricula, short-course plans, and continuing education programs.
“GEARED courses are bringing real-time challenges faced by the industry into the classroom so students can deal with fresh problems that haven’t been solved yet." – Matt Aberman, University of Central Florida student
Students who participate in courses developed through GEARED are able to enter the power sector and utility industry with the knowledge many employers want in their employees. The specialized courses students take and assistance they receive from professionals in the field are expanding their skills to meet new demands. Students tell us the knowledge they’ve gained is invaluable.
“Electricity is everywhere, so I knew it was going to be a field with lots of opportunities and evolving technology,” said Amanda Elliot, a student at the University of South Carolina. “The courses I took that were developed by the GEARED program – especially Power Systems Design and Analysis – gave me the opportunity to learn more about how to incorporate more renewables onto the grid.”
The relevance and importance of the lessons taught in the GEARED courses is also an attractive feature to students.
“GEARED courses are bringing real-time challenges faced by the industry into the classroom so students can deal with fresh problems that haven’t been solved yet,” said Matt Aberman, a student at the University of Central Florida. “We’re able to get involved in what industry is doing before we graduate, which allows us to walk into interviews and new positions with confidence.”
Learn more about GEARED and its consortia leaders.