Academics & Research

Endowment assists energy program

The Department of Energy has awarded a $2.5 million stimulus endowment to the UH Energy program through a team effort led by the UH College of Technology.

These developments will help fund a training program, which will help guide future workers within the electric power industry.

The DOE award was given to the Smart Grid Energy Training Coalition, which includes UH, San Jacinto College, CenterPoint Energy, SkillsNET, the Power Technology Institute and the Texas Business and Education Coalition.

Research professor and program manager Raymond E. Cline Jr. said that one of the main goals is to establish a Power Training Campus within the UH Energy Research Center.

“UH will be the focal point for hands-on training, in partnership with the Power Technology Institute, through the establishment of training facilities at the University’s Energy Research Center,” Cline said. “All members of the Smart Grid Energy Training Coalition will be able to leverage the facilities and capabilities that will be established in the Energy Research Center.”

The DOE award was the result of a group effort from these organizations.

“This was a fully competitive award. UH developed a team of partners, established a direction and program plan, wrote and submitted the proposal,” Cline said. “The UH Energy team was selected based on addressing the merit criteria established for the competitive award by the Department of Energy.”

According to the team’s written proposal, the emerging electric power sector workforce will be affected by three major factors, which they refer to as “the three A’s,” including attrition, augmentation and acquisition.

As a result of the element and technological changes, the industry is looking for new recruits, who will need training in both traditional and smart grid topics.

Although all of the organizations within the coalition will help in different ways to attain these goals, UH will play a major role by housing the “Power Training Campus,” where it will provide general project management as well as conduct training classes.

“UH will provide existing and augmented training capabilities in the areas of power engineering technology, digital energy, cyber security and program/project management,” Cline said. “The CoT will also work to design specific course, degree and certificate content that will address the emerging needs of the national clean energy smart grid.”

Cline and the rest of the coalition said they expect enormous success.

Their proposal states that an estimate to develop new employees and expand the economic potential of existing employees would be in surplus of $44 million.

The program anticipates 500 students by 2013, as well as a minimum of 100 undergraduate students from the UH CoT within the electric power sector.

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