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Monday, March 8, 2010
feature story
Smart Grid Hits the Classroom
by Bobby Bilicki

George Mason and NOVAThe major initiative in the electrical industry today is undoubtedly Smart Grid. When President Obama strongly supported the advancement of the century-old electrical grid with $11 billion for various initiatives in the stimulus package last year, the industry knew Smart Grid was coming—and fast.

Over the next 20 years, Smart Grid will be a prime creator of jobs in the electrical industry, but what exactly does that mean? A major implication is that if college campuses across the country don’t begin to educate their students on this movement, our ability to implement, support, and advance Smart Grid technologies across the electrical grid will be hindered. To that end, the electrical industry and education sector need to work closely to ensure that tomorrow’s workers obtain crucial education on Smart Grid technologies.

I recently visited the engineering departments at George Mason University (GMU) and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) with NEMA Smart Grid Director Paul Molitor, to expose students to the technologies and contributing factors of the Smart Grid movement. Professor Peter Pollak, who teaches at both schools, arranged the presentation.

Mr. Molitor, who was recently elected to the post of plenary secretary for the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, works directly with NEMA member companies to ensure that the industry cooperates on the development of Smart Grid standards. Thus, the students got first-hand industry knowledge from someone who is directly involved in many aspects of the Smart Grid initiative.

“Previously, I had no knowledge about this power grid project, nor would I have understood how many unique and important career possibilities that such a project would create,” said Daren Eveleigh, a first-year student at NOVA .

In order for Smart Grid to flourish, it is going to take a wholehearted collaboration between educators and industry leaders, with presentations like this being just one small step toward that goal.

Select image to view three 10-minute videos of the presentation at GMU.

Smart Grid Hits the Classroom (Part 1)

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On the Hill/Around the Nation

Senate Approves Jobs Bill, NEMA Pushes Renovation Credits: The Senate approved a $15.5 billion “Jobs for Main Street Act” (HR 2847) by a vote of 70-28 on February 24. The package includes an expansion of the Build America Bonds program, tax incentives for hiring new workers, an increase in Section 179 expensing, and a one-year extension of highway trust fund programs. The bill returns to the House for additional consideration. NEMA’s efforts have focused on promoting a $10-15 billion jobs creation provision that would fund tax credits to renovate and retrofit buildings and manufacturing facilities with energy-efficient technologies. The Senate will begin discussing a second package of tax-extender and jobs provisions this week. NEMA is leading efforts to advance tax policies to increase deployment of energy-efficient technologies.

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International News

No international news in this edition of eiXtra.

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Industry News



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  • NEMA’s Government Manager Mark Kohorst recently presented a webinar for the Association of Facilities Engineering. His webinar, entitled "Recycling Mercury-added Lamps: A Primer for Facility Managers," was hosted by AFE.

    It had 57 attendees ranging from Alaska to Massachusetts. Mark provided vital information for facility owners and managers on proper procedures for disposal of mercury-containing lamps. View presentation.

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