published Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

UTC awarded federal grant for smart-grid

Audio clip

Chuck Cantrell

UTC is one of 33 colleges nationwide and the only school in the state to win federal stimulus funds to help develop training programs to expand electric smart-grid technology.

Officials say the award puts the school on the cutting edge of the emerging technology.

"UTC's selection is an example of our leadership in the state," said Chuck Cantrell, spokesman for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. "We'll have a corner on being able to produce the states' leading experts in power-grid management.

"Not only is this a source of acclaim for our current programs," he said, "but it will allow our engineering and computer science programs to be (among) the most competitive in the country."

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The $2.4 million in federal funding will be used by the university's engineering department to create high school programs and enhance college curriculum to teach students to use smart grids, an electronic technology that helps monitor power usage in appliances for cost and energy savings.

EPB now is working to deploy smart grid to its customers, and part of the UTC grant will be used to research lessons learned from EPB's project, said Will Sutton, engineering dean at UTC. Those lessons will help UTC students' training in engineering and computer sciences, he said.

"We congratulate UTC on their grant award and look forward to working with them on their new initiative," said David Wade, EPB's executive vice president of the electric system and chief operating officer. "The recent UTC award is certainly another example of how Chattanooga is quickly becoming a leading city for innovation and technology."

Funding also will be used to create a smart-grid lab in the college of engineering for teaching, researching and industry training needs, he said.

"It supports our college strategic goals of relevance and engagement with the technical community, like these utility partners," Dr. Sutton said. "The project helps us provide the very best training and education to our students and the regional workforce."

In total, the U.S. Department of Energy is awarding $100 million for programs that will train an estimated 30,000 Americans. These workers will help to modernize the nation's electrical grid by implementing smart-grid technologies across the country, a release from the U.S. Department of Energy stated.

"With these funds, UTC will be able to provide students with the knowledge and training necessary to obtain the jobs of the future," said state Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, in a statement. "Smart-grid technology will save energy and provide our nation with the infrastructure necessary to accommodate future generations, and Tennesseans will be a major part of making it happen."

WHAT IS SMART-GRID TECHNOLOGY?

A smart grid provides electrical power to consumers by using a two-way digital technology that controls appliances at consumers' homes to save energy and reduce cost. The technology is being promoted by the U.S. Department of Energy as a way to aid energy independence.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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rolando said...

Of course UTC won federal money for their smart-grid work. Anyone surprised?

Anyone read that last paragraph up there? It baldly states, "[Smart grid uses] a two-way digital technology that controls appliances at consumers' homes...".

That means the federal government [by regulation through the electric company] will directly control when your heater comes on and how warm your home will be, when your air conditioner comes on and how cool it will be, when your water heater turns on and how hot your water will be, how bright your lights will get, how hot your oven can get for how long, absolutely everything. It will even be able to shut you down completely if you exceed your "quota". Full and total control.

And it claims to do it to save energy and reduce cost. Yeah, right. I got this bridge for sale, too... Wanna bet algore's mansion won't be on it? Or Pelosi's?

"If they are In, they are Out."

April 20, 2010 at 10:55 a.m.
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