The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

May 9, 2013

Energy Department Awards $200,000 to North Carolina State University to Train Future Workforce in Smart Grid Technology

By Alan Ohnsman
Bloomberg News

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 — WASHINGTON – The Energy Department has selected North Carolina State University for a $200,000 award to support the development of curricula and training that will help researchers and students gain a better understanding of the complex conditions of a modern electric grid, focusing on synchrophasor technology.  North Carolina State received one of seven awards totaling $1.4 million to help colleges and universities better prepare the electricity workforce of the future. Including North Carolina State University’s contribution, the total value of the project is $250,000.

“These awards will play an important role in developing university and industry research partnerships and will help students who plan to pursue careers in the electricity industry better understand how to use synchrophasor technology,” said Assistant Secretary of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman.

“Teaching students how to visualize the health of the electric grid and develop a more finely-tuned awareness of its complex, constantly-changing nature will help ensure that our workforce of the future is better prepared to face the challenges of operating a reliable and resilient grid.”

Use of synchrophasor data from sensors on the transmission system is considered to be a promising tool to monitor modern electric power systems, identify and respond to deteriorating or abnormal grid conditions more quickly, and help with integration of clean renewable sources of energy onto the grid. However, only a limited number of professionals, researchers, and students have the knowledge and expertise to understand and analyze the high-speed, time-synchronized data that will be generated by the deployment of these devices.  

The purpose of the awards is to provide researchers and students with access to data provided by their utility collaborators and create an opportunity for academic institutions to collaborate with other stakeholders to expand their graduate and undergraduate engineering curricula in grid dynamics, process simulation, control, and analysis tools. Students and researchers will also gain hands-on simulator-based training and learn how commercial-scale power plants and systems respond dynamically to grid oscillations, system disturbances, and stress from high power demands.