Missouri University of Science and Technology will receive $4.3 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative to develop power engineering curriculum and launch the Mid-America Regional Microgrid Education and Training Consortium (MARMET).
The award, announced Oct. 22 as part of the SunShot Initiative’s Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) program, is part of $60 million in DOE funding that will help lower the cost of solar electricity, advance seamless grid integration and support a growing U.S. solar workforce.
“We are honored to be a part of the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative,” says Dr. K. Krishnamurthy, vice provost for research at Missouri S&T. “Missouri S&T already has a firm foundation in innovative energy research and this award will allow us to expand upon that.”
Missouri S&T will lead the MARMET Consortium. Other members include the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Iowa State University and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The consortium’s cost-share partners are Ameren, the City Utilities of Springfield, Mo., and the Perfect Power Institute in Chicago.
“I’m very excited to be a part of the SunShot Initiative,” says Dr. Mariesa Crow, the Fred W. Finley Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Missouri S&T. “The primary goal of this consortium is to integrate cutting-edge research and advanced instructional methods to create a flexible, evolving approach to microgrid and distributed energy resources training for all levels of students.”
The consortium will do this by developing modular course material that reflects the newest trends in microgrid engineering and making them available in both traditional and non-traditional settings.
“It is our goal to develop course material that can be integrated into either existing courses or organized into new courses,” Crow says. The target audience for these courses includes technicians, contractors, consultants, inspectors, policy-makers, supervisors and engineers, as well as undergraduate and graduate students.”
Working with Crow on the consortium are Dr. Jonathan Kimball, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, Dr. Suzanna Long, assistant professor of engineering management and systems engineering, and Angie Rolufs, director of the Office of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engagement.
The DOE SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, DOE supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.
The program is designed to support the increase in power systems research, development, and analytical capacity while simultaneously growing the expertise and preparedness of current and incoming electric utility sector professionals for high penetrations of solar and other distributed energy technologies. In order to achieve this, Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) will support two activities: training consortia that focus on quickly bringing their findings into training and educational initiatives; and a national coordination network that will link these consortia to one another and other relevant power systems R&D and training activities.