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Project Name: Foundations for Engineering Education for Distributed Energy Resources
Funding Opportunity: Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP)
SunShot Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: Orlando, FL
SunShot Award Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $250,000

Foundations for Engineering Education in Distributed Energy Resources (FEEDER) was established under the Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) program in 2013 as one of three training consortia. FEEDER is administered by the University of Central Florida and consists of seven universities and eight utilities, as well as ten industry partners and two national labs. FEEDER undertakes research, curriculum development, and education and training activities in power systems engineering aimed at widespread adoption of distributed renewable energy resources and deployment of smart grid technologies.

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

Approach

FEEDER will grow its consortium to more than 50 partners and continue to collaborate with stakeholders to modernize and sustain the nation's power grid. Researchers in FEEDER are analyzing the infrastructure inside the current grid to find ways to enhance its capacity and make it more efficient. They are also exploring ways to safely and efficiently process the amount of fluctuating energy currently fed into the grid from an increasing number of small, decentralized power producers, many of which generate power from renewable sources such as solar.

Innovation

On the education front, FEEDER universities will educate the nation's current and future smart grid workforce by working together to develop and deploy updated new course materials, which are shared between partner universities, and to conduct professional short courses for utility personnel, guest lectures, and workforce training activities. FEEDER aims to attract and educate more students to become future power engineers, to address real-world research and development challenges, to train the existing utility workforce and speed up technology transfer, and to realize smart grid implementation. This training for current and potential grid engineers will strengthen the resilience of US utility operations, making the grid more efficient, more durable and more flexible in receiving and dispatching electricity.