Wanted: Smart Grid Innovators

Posted by Energy Wire on January 12, 2011 at 5:25 PM


I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. ~Wayne Gretzky

The electrical grid is standing on the brink of a major overhaul, and the industry will need leaders who run businesses the way The Great One skates – spotting trends, and getting there first.

Perhaps it’s a golden opportunity that about half of electric utility employees are expected to retire in the next 5 to 10 years. Time to groom tomorrow’s leaders.

The New York Times reports that educators, marketers and government officials are doing just that, by creating smart grid curriculums for all levels, from grade school on up through university labs.

The goal is to replace retiring workers with fresh minds and youthful enthusiasm. “We want to help make utilities cool again,” says Lisa Magnuson of Silver Spring Networks, a smart grid hardware and software producer.

Silver Spring helped to develop a series of smart grid lessons included with pilot programs in Ohio and California, lessons that aim to get students thinking about smart grid careers.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Ohio State High Voltage and Power Electronics Laboratory is developing a virtual platform to simulate the functions of a smart grid in a lab setting.

That’s the kind of educational opportunity that might inspire the next Steve Jobs to go into energy.

Photo credit: delawarm

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