When SOS Intl was invited to demonstrate a grid simulator to engineering students at UNC Charlotte, they jumped at the chance. “Preparing our future electric utility workforce is part of what we do. And what better way to reinforce how the grid works than to let students see and do for themselves,” said Rocky Sease, Owner and CEO of SOS.
Twenty students from UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) were selected by Yamilka Baez-Rivera, Manager of EPIC’s Duke Energy Smart Grid Laboratory, to take part in the four-hour workshop presented by Andy Burch, Manager of Training Services for SOS.
Students were first briefed on System Operations and then reviewed the features of the power grid simulator. Burch presented various real life scenarios that placed the students in the “driver’s seat” of the control room operator. “Playing around with the simulator is the fun and engaging part for students. This is when the students realize how critical thinking and situation awareness comes into play when you only have a few seconds to respond to an event such as a system blackout,” noted Burch.
"Training like this, helps our students reinforce the theory they learn in class. It also makes them aware of the considerations needed while conducting applied research, as well as the reality of the power system's behavior and the decision-making process," commented Baez.
Power grid simulation is an analytical tool that enables students to predict system behavior in response to operator actions and events using real-time and scenario-based data. This tool makes power grid simulation drills more realistic and relevant for the system operator. Sease commented that while most system operators spend their entire careers without experiencing a voltage collapse or blackout, recognizing and acting to pre-empt an emergency or recovering quickly from a failure is key to system reliability.