Siemens Partners with University for Next-Generation Energy Grid Education
Friday, October 12, 2018 | Comments

Siemens and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) formed a new academic partnership to provide students with the skills needed to operate and advance the nation’s energy grid.

Faced with the growth of renewable energy and the threat of outages from extreme weather, the power grid is becoming more reliant than ever on intelligent digital technologies to smoothly operate the country’s critical infrastructure. The new program will prepare students for the shifting energy landscape by providing them with both new classroom curriculum and hands-on learning via real-world software and hardware tools in a new state-of-the-art Digital Grid Lab.

The total value of the partnership is approximately $1.2 million, including in-kind and monetary gifts.

Siemens is working with CWRU’s School of Engineering’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department to develop an experiential learning curriculum that will better educate students to address the 21st-century power grid. As part of this curriculum, the new Digital Grid Lab will give students hands-on experience with real-world digital grid software and hardware already at work at some of the largest utilities across the country.

The training they receive in the lab includes operating software that can identify outages within milliseconds so the grid can quickly recover from hurricanes or other natural disasters, and managing an advanced distribution management system that can balance the addition of renewable generation, such as wind and solar power, on the grid.

“This exciting academic partnership with Siemens allows us to fulfill one of our most fundamental missions — the training of the next generation of students in an area of national need — and, importantly, it allows us to do so in an experiential, hands-on way utilizing the most current platforms,” said Venkataramanan "Ragu" Balakrishnan, the Charles H. Phipps Dean of the Case School of Engineering. “This approach will undoubtedly uncover new research challenges, not only in the area of the digital grid, but also in many related areas, ranging from energy generation, storage and distribution to economic and public policy. Thus, the partnership will have enormous positive impact in our quest to be the exemplar private urban university with global reach.”

Updated classes will also be offered across several focus areas including the advanced control of energy systems, reliability engineering, and power system analysis, among others.

“In order to train the next-generation energy workforce, we understand that it can’t be done alone,” said Mike Carlson, president of Siemens Digital Grid, North America. “There must be a focus on building training initiatives across stakeholders, which is why we’ve partnered with Case Western Reserve University on this important digital grid program. This partnership makes the university one of the first in the U.S. to institute a digital grid-focused curriculum using both classroom and hands-on learning tools, which will ensure that their students are well prepared for the energy jobs of today and tomorrow.”

The partnership will equip students with the latest skills needed to land jobs in the evolving energy field, an industry currently facing a skills gap akin to the nationally acknowledged talent gap in the manufacturing sector. A recent U.S. Department of Energy jobs report found that the country does not have enough workers to fill 1.5 million new energy jobs by 2030 and 75 percent of companies have challenges in hiring qualified candidates.

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