As the nation prepares to meet the needs of the future by updating its electric power system, UTC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is poised to take a leading role in developing the well-trained, highly skilled workforce necessary to manage and operate our power network.
A team of UTC engineering faculty members has been awarded a $2.4 million grant from the Department of Energy for workforce training for the electric power sector. The principal investigators on the project are Dr. Ahmed Eltom, Dr. Stephen Craven, and Dr. Ed McMahon.
“We are extremely proud to have received this honor,” said UTC Chancellor Roger Brown. “This brings recognition to our College of Engineering and Computer Science and is an acknowledgement of the significant research already underway on our campus in the area of alternative energies and energy management. UTC is stepping to the forefront in this important research field.”
UTC is the only university in Tennessee to receive an award through the federal energy program, which awarded nearly $100 million to 54 workforce training programs across the country.
The college will work with Chattanooga State Community College, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association (TVPPA), the Electric Power Board (EPB), and Tennessee Workforce Development on the project.
The goals of the project include:
- To prepare electric power sector employees for smart grid technology applications;
- To increase the number of engineers from undergraduate and graduate programs who are prepared to support the electric power sector especially with regards to supporting application of smart power distribution; and
- To increase the number of middle and high school students who are aware of the career opportunities in the electric power sector.
The college plans to maximize the impact of the training by offering programs in Power Systems and Power Systems Management online.
As a result of this grant the College of Engineering and Computer Science will be able to develop an innovative power curriculum and state of the art laboratories, attract more students at the undergraduate and graduate level, attract highly qualified faculty, and conduct research in alternative energy, energy efficiency, and new power system technologies.
“Smart grid is one of the most important infrastructure projects in our generation,” said Will Sutton, Dean of Engineering and Computer Science at UTC. “Many equate EPB’s efforts only with providing TV and internet. The ability for utilities to be able to match just the right amount of power generation to customer usage is not a trivial issue. The addition of future electric vehicle usage and alternative power from remote personal generation, like solar or wind, are where a true smart grid becomes crucial. Our students will be part of this future.”
Read the Department of Energy’s official press release.