Educating the Nation’s Electric Power Workforce with State-of-the-Art Technology
EPCE, the Energy Providers Coalition for Education, and its founding education partner, Bismarck State College (BSC) National Energy Center for Excellence are proud to announce a powerful new, upgrade to the power system laboratory developed to provide real-world experiences for online students. The WebLab Power Grid Laboratory (PGL) is integrated into BSC’s online Electric Power Technology curriculum, which is designed for current and future electric utility workers.
The WebLab PGL platform contains two hydroelectric generators, a transmission system and a distribution system with electrical loads. Students learn the distinct steps required to run a power system by using WebLab, which also includes lessons targeted towards specific topics related to the course objectives. Each lesson poses objectives and lectures to explain the requirements in addition to required exercises, assignments, and/or quizzes.
“The addition of these interactive online learning tools not only enhances the energy curriculum, but engages energy professionals in their education and training, says Tyler White, Manager, Utility Operations Training & Procedures, Pepco Holdings, an Exelon Company and the chair of the EPCE/BSC Electric Power Technology Curriculum Committee. “The introduction of these online tools allows individuals to remotely control laboratory equipment and experience hands-on training with both a transmission and distribution systems.”
The WebLab PGL project began in 2003 with the development of a live miniature power system showing generation, transmission, and the power distribution in a mock city. When it was launched in April 2006, students could log in online and go through a procedure to start up the hydroelectric powerhouses. The WebLab live system is housed on the second floor of the National Energy Center of Excellence. However, since there is only one laboratory, only one student could be logged into the system at a time, requiring students to schedule blocks of time for lab exercises, and work within a set timeframe.
“EPCE applauds BSC for their innovation and ability to integrate a next-generation online tool into the Electric Power Technology online program,” White added.
The Energy Providers Coalition for Education (www.epceonline.org) is a national alliance delivering solutions to attract and engage the energy industry's workforce through quality online education. These programs offer interested candidates and incumbent workers technical skills as well as academic knowledge needed for industry career paths in electric utilities including nuclear power. EPCE members, representing over two-thirds of the industry, champion industry needs in their joint efforts to develop and sponsor online curriculum with qualified accredited high schools, colleges, and universities. EPCE is a signature initiative of CAEL, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (www.cael.org), an international non-profit organization with more than 40 years of experience in working with the public sector, private sector industries, and higher education institutions to ensure that adult students receive the most efficient training and education to occupy a meaningful professional place in a 21st century economy.
Bismarck State College's National Energy Center of Excellence offers online and classroom training for the energy industry. Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degrees can be earned, or courses can simply be taken for professional development and training. Classes are available in Electric Power Technology (distribution), Electrical Transmission Systems Technology (system operations), Power Plant, Process Plant (refining, gasification, ethanol, biodiesel), Nuclear Power and Renewable Generation (wind, solar, tidal, hydro, biomass) Technologies. In addition, a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Energy Management is available entirely online. The classes are offered in a convenient block-style format, giving students the opportunity to complete a class in 3-8 weeks. The National Energy Center of Excellence is also known for their non-credit offerings such as apprenticeship programs, customized training, and NERC CEH courses.