Monday, September 22, 2014 · 8:19 p.m.

TVA supports UTC's smart grid research, education initiatives

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EPB leaders celebrated a milestone in April with the completion of the final “smart switch” in the smart grid system. (Photo: Staff)

The Tennessee Valley Authority presented UTC's College of Engineering and Computer Science with $25,000 for research and course development in the areas of transmission grid modernization and data analytics. 

Also, TVA's energy delivery business unit will work closely with UTC to design course curricula, research projects and internships that will allow UTC students to solve some of the challenges of operating and maintaining a bulk electric system.

“TVA is very pleased to have this opportunity to advance the skills of our workforce by partnering with the University of the Tennessee at Chattanooga,” Jacinda Woodward, vice president for transmission reliability and operations for TVA, said in a prepared statement. “We are proud to support the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science through internships and course development that will strengthen our technical abilities and participate in research to advance TVA’s bulk electric system and transmission grid modernization in general. In keeping with our vision to be one of the nation’s leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020, this partnership will provide both TVA and UTC the opportunity to meet future energy demands with new technologies and the skilled workforce needed for reliable, affordable power for the Tennessee Valley.”

Officials said that a highly skilled workforce is a critical component for managing a complex network of transmission lines, substations and telecommunications for the future. This future workforce will have to be proficient in the areas of grid security, transmission system protection and business intelligence through data management. The partnership between TVA and UTC will help meet these goals by improving the expertise of current employees and providing a stream of UTC graduates with a strong knowledge of power systems, telecommunications and related information technologies.

“All of us at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga greatly appreciate our long partnership with TVA, and we are especially thankful for this gift. Educating students to assume leadership roles in the power industry is critical to our academic mission as well as our role as a metropolitan university, and we could not succeed in this endeavor without the support of TVA,” Dr. Grady Bogue, interim chancellor at UTC, said in a prepared statement.

Currently, approximately 750 TVA employees have degrees from UTC, about 270 of which are in engineering. 

“Our relationship with TVA is crucial,” Dr. Will Sutton, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, said in a prepared statement. “Our students benefit greatly from the opportunities that TVA provides. We are tremendously grateful for this partnership and support.”

 

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