DoE tasks EPRI with $6 million contract for next-generation utility workers

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The US Department of Energy has awarded the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) with a contract to train the next-generation of electric utility workers.

The $6 million contract has been issued through the Solar Energy Technologies Office and is the DoE’s largest amongst its 53 workforce development grants.

EPRI, in partnership with universities and utilities, will launch the Grid-Ready Energy Analytics Training with Data Initiative to train engineers, as well as computer and data scientists.

The initiative will focus on four key areas:

  1. Data science, including descriptive, prescriptive and predictive analytics, and machine learning
  2. Cybersecurity
  3. Information and communication technologies, with an emphasis on interoperability and standardisation technologies
  4. Integration of solar photovoltaic and other distributed energy resources such as energy storage, electric vehicles, and demand response.

The five-year initiative will come up with five regional training hubs to develop certifications, credentials, qualifications and standards for the training and education needed in the electric utility industry workplace.

“The engineers of today and tomorrow need to understand the tools and analytics necessary to make sense of the intersection of OT and IT that is transforming the grid,” said EPRI principal technical executive and GREAT project lead Tom Reddoch.

The project builds upon the existing GridEd programme, which EPRI has run for the past five years for the DoE.

EPRI is partnering with utilities including AEP, Con Edison and the Southern California Edison, as well as universities including Stony Brook, University of California and Washington State University.

EPRI was selected as part of the DoE’s FY2018 SETO funding program, an effort to invest in research to lower solar electricity costs and support a growing solar workforce.