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April 19, 2010

 

Sac State receives grant for Smart Grid training program

Photo: Power Pole

Sacramento State will receive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for the development of a new training and workforce development program to enhance the region’s growing smart grid system. 
           
 This federal award totals $905,348. Sacramento State’s application was supported by Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui in a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy.  The University will receive $749,992 from the Department of Energy, along with $83,356 in matching funds from the California Energy Commission and $72,000 in funds and in-kind contributions from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).
           
The funding will support Sacramento State’s development of electrical/power engineers with smart grid credentials. The collaborative program also will lead to a national Smart Grid Workforce Development Network that will accelerate workforce development initiatives.

Smart grid technology helps utility companies effectively respond to peak power demands through advanced metering systems that allow two-way communication between consumers and suppliers.

Sacramento State is home to the California Smart Grid Center, which tests and develops solutions for large-scale integration of technologies. It also develops smart grid curricula for engineering and computer science students and will oversee installation of smart meters on campus buildings and electric vehicle charging stations in University parking structures.
           
"Our University is educating the next generation of innovative workers in the energy sector while developing technology that will help modernize our nation's aging electrical grid,” says University President Alexander Gonzalez. “I applaud Congresswoman Matsui along with our partners in the California Smart Grid Center for their efforts to support our faculty and students in this critical endeavor.”    
           
“Electrical utilities predict that as many as 50 percent of their technical staff will retire within the next five to 10 years,” says Emir Jose Macari, dean of Sacramento State’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “This training program will give displaced workers the opportunity to change careers to the power industry by providing scholarships, continuing education courses and certificate programs.”
           
In October, Sacramento State and its smart grid partners—SMUD, the Los Rios Community College District and the state Department of General Services -- received $127.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for the smart grid project.
           
"Sacramento is becoming a major clean technology capital,” says John DiStasio, general manager and CEO of SMUD. “Having a workforce proficiently trained in the complexities of the smart grid is a key component in attracting more clean tech and green tech companies that will transform our region's economy."


 


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