Energy Industry Coalition (EPCE) Announces First of Three Online Courses for Smart Grid and Renewable Energy as Part of DOE Grant

November 15, 2010, Denver, CO -- The Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) has launched a new online course designed to provide important training for electric power industry workers in the areas of clean energy solutions and smart grid deployment.

Renewable Energy Sources and the Smart Grid explores electricity production from various forms of renewable energy as well as the function, operation and vision of the smart grid. Designed to be an overview, the first course covers renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, ocean, biomass and geothermal, as well as a high-level look at smart grid challenges, benefits, technology needed, and the vital role of the consumer.

“[Smart grid and renewable energy] is the wave of the future we'll see in dispatch, so learning more about the types of generation and power supply we may deal with soon was helpful,” said Victor Kurywczak, master coordinator at PJM Interconnection, who recently completed the course.

“I think everyone should be exposed to [the course],” he added. “It's not position or department specific. It provides a very good insight into alternatives in energy sources and to what the ‘smart grid' is developing into.”

The first in a series of three, this course was developed in collaboration with EPCE's education partner, Bismarck State College's National Energy Center of Excellence, as part of a U.S. Department of Energy workforce training and development grant administered by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). The other two courses will be developed and delivered over the remainder of the three-year DOE grant project. All the courses require approximately 10 to 12 hours of time, and students can access these online courses anytime, anywhere.

The courses are being developed to provide workforce preparedness training for thousands of employees of EPCE's DOE grant partners: Arizona Public Service; ComEd, an Exelon Company; JEA; Northeast Utilities Service Company; Oklahoma Gas and Electric; and PJM Interconnection. EPCE association partners, American Public Power Association (APPA) and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), are providing additional support for the program. Several hundred EPCE partner company employees have already enrolled in the course, which is now available to any interested student for a fee.

Representing approximately two-thirds of the industry workforce, EPCE is a unique coalition of industry organizations that partner with higher-education to develop, sponsor and promote online learning programs to help the energy industry meet its workforce needs.

"With this funding we, with our energy partners and our founding education partner, have co-designed new online curriculum to help prepare the vital energy workforce for rapid

technological changes coming to the industry," said Jo Winger de Rondon, vice president of CAEL. "Leveraging the historical success of the national EPCE Coalition provides a 'shovel-ready' infrastructure to quickly develop and deliver this new online curriculum."

About EPCE

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, nuclear power, and gas distribution. 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.

About CAEL

The EPCE program is a signature initiative of CAEL, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (www.cael.org), an international non-profit organization with more than 35 years experience in creating and managing effective learning strategies for working adults through partnerships with employers, higher education, the public sector, and labor. CAEL is headquartered in Chicago and has regional offices in Denver and Philadelphia.

About Bismarck State College's National Energy Center of Excellence

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 (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 3-6 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.

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