GridEd Advisory Workshop and Short Course offered in Huntington Beach, CA

In February of 2017, GridEd faculty and advisors gathered for an engagement workshop. During the session discussion took place on the past year's accomplishments, refining the current year activities, and planning the future efforts for GridEd.

Abby Crison with First Energy presented on her experience with the Electricity Markets short course with Case Western University and EPRI.

Kimberly Dyer took lead for the development of an HR working committee. Discussion was open to the floor on issues of workforce development for electric utilities.

One of GridEd's high in demand short courses was offered in Huntington Beach. The Applications of Smart Inverters short course investigates the core theory, modeling, and analysis behind smart inverter technology and its application on the power system. Students learned relevant characteristics of inverter operation, including topologies, modulation, maximum power point tracking, grounding, and protection. Dr. Aminul Huque and Dr. Ben York, both involved with the Integration of Distributed Energy Resources research area at EPRI, taught the course. For more information on short course offerings contact: .

Dr. Aminul Huque
Principal Technical Leader
  Dr. Ben York
Senior Engineer

GridEd attended the 2017 DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition

For the second year, GridEd attended DistribuTECH which was held in San Diego, CA. GridEd was featured in the EPRI booth as well as the GEARED booth.

Fifty GEARED student posters were presented outside of the main ballroom. Students were present to discuss their posters with the industry. Students were able to take advantage of free passes for the Exhibit Hall.

A mega session on initiatives that utilities are using to develop a competent 21st century power systems workforce and address hiring challenges, Educating, Hiring and Developing the Next Generation of Electric Power Engineers, took place at DistribuTECH. GridEd was selected to conduct one of eight mega panels.

GridEd sponsored a Microgrid tour at the University of California, San Diego.
Students showcased their posters and engaged with the industry.

Energy Department Launches Five New Solar Ready Vets Training Locations, Announces $10 Million for National Solar Training Programs

The Energy Department announced five additional military bases will join Solar Ready Vets, a solar jobs training program that prepares service members for careers in the solar industry when they leave active duty. The Department is also awarding $10 million to 10 new projects through its Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP) funding program, which was created to help meet the solar industry's growing demand for wellqualified, highly skilled installers and other industry-related professionals.

"Jobs in the dynamic solar energy sector have grown more than 20 percent per year for the past several years," said Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. "At DOE, we are committed to training the solar workforce of the future through our partnership with the Department of Defense, the solar industry, and community colleges around the country."

These solar energy training efforts build on the success of the SunShot Initiative's Solar Instructor Training Network, which has trained 1,100 certified solar instructors and provided hands-on solar workforce training to more than 30,000 students nationwide through our nation's community colleges. Today the solar industry is a leader in hiring military veterans—employing nearly 17,000 veterans to date— and it is committed to employing 50,000 veterans by 2020.

GridEd on the Move

GridEd team members participated in the DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition February 9-11 in Orlando. Siemens' recently produced video on GEARED was displayed at the GEARED and EPRI booths, with staff available to answer questions. Student posters were on display and SIB members were on hand to assist as well.

Later in the month, GridEd held its bi-annual advisory meeting on February 24 at the JW Marriott in Austin. SIB Chair, Morteza Rezaee, spoke on SIB activities and challenges, and Professor Jie Li of Clarkson University presented on using a GridEd short course as the basis for developing a semester-long course (see full story below). Professor Agustin Irizarry-Rivera of University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez provided an overview of two upcoming GridEd Short Courses ─ IEEE 762 and Unbalanced Power Systems Analysis. Job shadowing, an open access course on basic power engineering, and an upcoming technology transfer workshop for Affiliate universities were key topics of discussion.

SIB student posters on display at DistribuTECH   Professor Jie Li of Clarkson University presents on converting a GridEd short course into a semester long course   SIB Chair, Morteza Rezaee, discusses student activities and challenges in attracting students to power engineering

GridEd Short Courses Offer Continuing Value

Professor Jie Li of Clarkson University discusses continuing value of GridEd short course
In 2014, Professor Jie Li of Clarkson University participated in the GridEd Short Course "Business Case Analysis in the Electric Utility Industry," taught by EPRI Sr. Technical Executive Bernard Neenan and Technical Leader Jeff Roark whose research focuses on business and consumer response to electricity prices, information, and technology; and, extending the EPRI/DOE Cost/Benefit Analysis Methodology for Smart Grid Demonstration projects. The course covered accommodating changes in how electricity is used to power economic growth and prosperity, meeting changing customer wants and needs and accommodating distributed renewable resources, and the physical and financial implications for the utility, ratepayers, and society. It presents and demonstrates the foundations for utility investment decision making from three related cost/benefit perspectives: societal, utility, and customer and provides participants with a general understanding and specific subject area knowledge of how electric utilities plan and operate a power system.

Using insights from the course, Professor Li revised a semester long undergraduate level course at Clarkson. The Clarkson course originally focused on the electric aspects of alternative renewable resources such as wind, solar, and other distributed generation. The course now explores more detailed technical materials of engineering economics and includes time value of money, cash flow analysis, present value analysis, net present value, escalation and inflation, annualized and levelized analysis, fixed charge rate, net present value, and government incentives for renewables.

Li also plans to leverage the business case analysis material to improve the syllabus for a graduate level course which focuses on least-cost planning from the utility's point of view. This will include cost based vs. price based planning in market environment, reliability / power quality / environmental cost modeling, and customer cost modeling using the ICE Calculator from DOE.

"Students want to learn something practical, useful, technical and novel," explained Li, who has received very good feedback on the course. For more information about the Business Case Analysis short course, contact Lori Warneke (, 865-218-8174.

GridEd Making Impact around the World

GA Tech engineering students design and build a PV and battery storage system for a hospital in a remote area of Haiti.
Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech), one of GridEd's partner universities, is taking steps to send 14 electrical engineering undergraduate students to a remote mountain village in Haiti, to a hospital that is powered by diesel generator. Currently, diesel fuel must be brought in by truck up to a point, then carried the rest of the way, which is costly and difficult for workers. Under the direction of Georgia Tech Research Engineer Frank Lambert, students designed a PV and battery storage system for the clinic using donated PV panels, batteries, switch gear and hardware. Students will donate their time over Spring Break to prebuild the solar battery system which has sufficient capacity to power the facility most of the time, greatly reducing the hospital's need for diesel fuel.

The team will depart on May 8. Follow their progress at

GridEd Making a Life-long Impact

Professor Insu Kim poses with engineering students at Alabama A&M University
Insu Kim is the first PhD graduate who participated in GridEd activities. Insu is now an Assistant Professor in the electrical engineering department at Alabama A&M University. While a student at GA Tech, he attended the Solar Electric Power Association's 2014 Utility Solar Conference in Newport Beach, California as one of seventeen GEARED students who shared and discussed ideas by introducing research topics.

Insu says "At that time, I realized that active participation for the smooth integration of renewable energy sources to the grid is really important, so I tried to find an academic job in that area and settled down as an assistant professor at my current school. Therefore, I would like to say that GridEd has had a positive and great impact on everyone, including me."

For information on student opportunities, contact Lori Warneke (, 865-218-8174.

Georgia Tech Student Innovation Board (SIB) Holds Missions and Horizons Session for Potential Members

Georgia Tech Student Innovation Board members held an informational session for potential members in October. SIB Chair, Morteza Rezaee, presented on GridED and Professor Ron Harley concluded the session by explaining the opportunities available for undergraduate and graduate students in the power industry and encouraged them to be involved in SIB activities.

Rezaee and SIB Vice-Chair, George Vellaringattu, are planning discussion sessions on hot topics in power systems to capture innovative ideas from fellow students which may be helpful in updating course materials, in senior design projects, and in new short courses. They highly encourage other SIB members to initiate such sessions, introduce themselves to fellow students, and explain the opportunities involving the GridEd program.

For more information, Morteza may be reached at or 404.528.8365.

GridEd Short Courses Providing Value to Affiliate Universities

Maya Prica of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), one of GridEd's affiliate universities, recently attended the GridEd Short Course "Applications of Smart Inverters" in Baltimore, MD. Below is Maya's account of how she will convert this material into a semester-long course at Case Western.

Can you tell me your planned next steps in creating your course?

Upon my return from EPRI's Smart Inverter short course, I met with Professor Loparo, Chair of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department at CWRU to discuss the development of the Power Electronics course. The main idea is to gather information from other universities who have already developed such a course, and bring a systems perspective to the course. We are suggesting the following plan:

  1. Meet with professors from our departments that are experts in electronic devices to discuss both the course and laboratory development. The idea is to have a laboratory that will accompany the course so students can have hands-on experience.
  2. Get insight from faculty that have taught Power Electronics courses, including University of Minnesota (Professor Ned Mohan), University of Pittsburgh (Professor Greg Reed), and University of North Carolina in Charlotte (Professor Badrul Chowdhury) to gather information about their experiences.
  3. The University of Minnesota has on-line material for a first course on Power Electronics and this can be used in conjunction with the more advanced material related to smart inverters and their application in power systems from EPRI's Applications of Smart Inverters short course.
  4. Seek support to develop the power electronics laboratory, building on our existing facilities.

Also, what would you describe as some of the high points of attending the course and what do you intend to make sure is part of your course?

We will use the EPRI Smart Inverter short course as a straw-man for our course and add additional material to develop a one semester university-level course. The short course on smart inverters was not very mathematical, but it provided material that was up to date. Today, there are a lot of small demo projects around the US that are looking into smart inverters. One of the benefits of the short course was that EPRI brought all those experience together into a day-and-a-half course.

The course was structured very well. Most courses on inverters have a tendency to jump into a black box (input/output) treatment of the device and do not provide sufficient information to explain the interworking of the device. EPRI started with a basic background on smart inverters and configurations that helped me to refresh my experiences and course work from college. The fundamentals of smart inverters were followed by smart inverter applications, challenges and open questions. The open questions provided opportunities for me to become aware of the issues and potential research topics related to smart inverters. The course material is a good start for developing the university course.

47th North American Power Symposium (NAPS)

by Monica Mercado, University of Puerto Rico

The 47th North American Power Symposium (NAPS) was held at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte from October 4–6, 2015. NAPS hosted multiple technical panel sessions focused on diverse power topics such as: renewable energy systems, power system optimization and control, smart grid technologies, and others.

The University of North Carolina – Charlotte, in conjunction with the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC), hosted students from all over the U.S. for the Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Development (GEARED) Student Poster Competition.

Students from the U.S. were invited to submit posters in the GEARED poster session. As the GEARED website states, "The session offered an excellent opportunity for students to present preliminary or interim results of their research work." A huge success, student work centered on analytical, computational and experimental studies aimed at solving problems related to operation, control, monitoring, protection and reliability, the economics of power and energy systems and components. A total of 47 students, mostly from graduate programs, were selected to present their research work at the poster session. The University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez was well represented at NAPS 2015 by five students from the Electrical Engineering Department.

UPRM representation at NAPS: Jose Matagira, Laura Adarme, Naysy López, Monica Mercado e Isaac Jordan at NAPS.
Monica Mercado, Prof. Irizarry and the winning poster.

Each of the student posters was rated based on technical contributions, poster quality, and presenter's understanding of the research project. Monica Mercado, senior undergraduate student from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department, won 1st Prize with a poster titled "Residential Grid-Tied Photovoltaic Energy System Design in Puerto Rico." Professor Agustín Irizarry has been Monica's advisor since 2014, and was also at NAPS. Texas Instruments sponsored cash awards for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the GEARED poster session.

Student Innovation Board Officers Elected

The GridEd Student Innovation Board (SIB) recently elected officers. Morteza Rezaee will serve as Chair; George Vellaringattu will serve as Vice-Chair, and Martin Meskin will serve as Secretary.

SIB members met at the 47th North American Power Symposium (NAPS) in October to discuss scheduled GridEd introduction seminars and the perks of involvement with GridEd to include senior design projects, interaction with industry professionals, and opportunities to present ideas to improve energy education. Also discussed was the SIB role of advisory board and to generate ideas.

Detailed information about the Student Innovation Board and SIB members is available from the Members tab under Students.

Georgia Tech Paving the Way for K-12 Outreach

K-12 outreach activities for the GridEd education initiative are in full swing. Georgia Tech has developed lesson plans, making it easy for high school teachers to incorporate the energy pathway into their curriculum, with the goal of encouraging student interest in STEM careers around energy and renewables. Topics include renewables, non-renewables, energy in the US, energy around the world, energy policies, technologies and trends. The initiative was publicized at the Georgia State STEM Conference for teachers in June.

The university also has a STEM development program with four intercity schools which is funded by GEARED, in addition to the state of Georgia. Students interested in STEM careers apply to the program; and, if accepted, they become interns at Georgia Tech for 1-2 years. The intent is to aid disadvantaged students in gaining entrance to major colleges and universities specializing in science and engineering. The program has been showcased on Georgia Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio.


GEARED Student Workshop - held in conjuction with the 47th Call for Posters - North American Power Symposium (NAPS 2015)

October 4-6, 2015
UNC Charlotte