The “Smart Grid” concept proposes to move the power system technology to the next level to improve efficiency, reliability, and environmental sustainability. In order to maintain a reliable, robust and secure electricity infrastructure that can meet further demand growth, the electrical grid is evolving toward the future power system, the smart grid, through the increased use of information technology, computing, advanced control, distributed generation, renewable energy, demand-side response, intelligent metering and monitoring, and deployment of the intelligent technologies. Smart grid (SG) concept is also driving many of the current changes in engineering curricula. Present power industry trends, the aging assets and workforce, renewable energy integration, all in the smart grid background, making the discussions around what is expected of the future utility workforce even more complicated. Educators and industry personnel are trying to figure out the answers to these questions and common themes are slowly emerging as there is no definitive consensus on the expected future workforce needs, workforce development and training in the SG inter-disciplinary areas. Existing educational programs and curricula must fit the needs of students, faculty and employers for a workforce that is capable of deploying and operating the smart grid technologies, including measurements, monitoring, communication, computing, control and power electronics make the required education and training even more challenging. Power system operation, analysis and design need to be formulated in a way that is understandable by non-power engineers for better SG development and implementation. To train professionals and students in smart grids, a creative curriculum crossing traditional disciplines is needed. For example, students taking advanced courses in power engineering have an electrical engineering background, as do students in the control systems and telecommunications fields. While students interested in communication networks typically have a computer science or engineering background. This divergence results in many challenges for the coeducation of such professionals and students. We are discussing our approach in the design, development and implementation of an undergraduate course, and the associate laboratory on smart grids. Project challenges include the selection of most appropriate course level, content and topics, textbooks, additional learning materials, laboratory experiments, inclusion or not an end-of-semester project, or field trips, etc. Two fundamental issues characterize smart grid education: multidisciplinary education and integrative nature of the smart grid solutions.
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper?
Visit the ASEE document repository at
for more tools and easy citations.