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Project Name: Leveraging Industry Research to Educate a Future Electric Grid Workforce in the Western U.S.
Funding Opportunity: Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP)
SunShot Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: Knoxville, TN
SunShot Award Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $250,000

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) along with university, utility, and electric industry partners establishes a Distributed Technology Training Consortium (DTTC) in the western United States. This new consortium, GridEd-West (The Center for Grid Engineering Education in the West), leverages the existing structure, knowledge, and successes from the EPRI-led GridEd-East team – a consortium established as a DTTC for the purpose of fulfilling the original objectives of the Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) program, which over the past two years has trained more than 4,500 students and professionals across the United States in power systems engineering.

The STEP funding program was announced in May 2016. Read the announcement.

Approach

EPRI will combine its experience in conducting electric utility-relevant research and development with the power engineering expertise of its university partners to expand the curricula and geographic reach of EPRI’s existing Center for Grid Engineering Education (GridEd) Project to the west coast while recognizing the regional differences.

This project will identify areas of improvement for existing educational curricula in power systems engineering and associated materials, then develop new and revised courses related to distributed energy resource generation and integration for undergraduate and graduate students. Short courses and workshops will be developed and delivered to industry professionals seeking to advance their careers and maintain professional development credits. EPRI will also stimulate student interest in electric power engineering and facilitate student internships, rotations, and fellowships in power systems engineering fields while promoting full-time employment opportunities.

Innovation

This program expands SunShot’s existing GEARED initiative with its particular focus on learning how to effectively integrate distributed energy resources onto the nation’s electric grid. This funding ensures that the solar industry will provide utilities with more well-qualified, skilled workers to meet the growing employment demands for power systems engineers, and ensure that utilities will be able to handle larger amounts of distributed energy that will be added to the grid in the coming years.