New Program Will Provide Training for up to 4,900 Employees
April 9, 2010 – National Grid has been awarded $2.18 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding for the development of a Smart Grid Workforce Training Program in the U.S. Over the past several years, the company has been developing several plans to test and integrate smart grid technology into the electric transmission and distribution system.
National Grid was one of 54 smart grid workforce training programs in the U.S. that was awarded a share of the nearly $100 million in DOE funding announced this week.
The distribution of electricity is changing rapidly with new, smart technology that will give customers more control of how and when they use energy. This new grid will require training for those who work and maintain the system.
This DOE funding will be used to design and develop comprehensive training materials for Massachusetts and New York smart grid programs. The program, managed by the National Grid Smart Technology Team, will provide training for up to 4,900 employees representing 15 different smart grid functions. Training will be provided in both New England and upstate New York at sites to be announced in the coming weeks.
"As a leading utility in smart grid development, this funding is an important step in training the electric utility workforce to maintain and repair the electric infrastructure of the future," said Tom King, president of National Grid in the U.S.
A smart grid is a network for electricity transmission and distribution systems that uses two-way, state-of-the-art communications, advanced sensors, and specialized computers to improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of electricity delivery and use. Smart grids also provide environmental benefits by helping to reduce energy use during peak hours and accommodate distributed generation facilities (such as solar energy) to the grid.
Smart grid technology will provide customers improved energy use information, automation, and savings as well as an unprecedented amount of choice and control over how they use energy. Implementing smart grid technology also will enhance the reliability of the electric system.
The company has two proposed pilot programs in the U.S. National Grid's current proposed pilots in Worcester, MA and Syracuse, NY were strategically selected due to the varied mix of customers and equipment in those geographic areas. Both sites have a mix of overhead and underground lines, and various system configurations with a wide variety of equipment of different ages.
National Grid is committed to smart grid technology and testing its effectiveness on the electric distribution system. In November of 2009, the company was selected as a sub-applicant in a DOE award to Premium Power Corporation for a three-year project that will demonstrate advanced energy storage in several locations, including Syracuse. That funding will be used in the Syracuse area to install two energy storage units at one of its substations, and the third at Syracuse University to demonstrate and study storage control methods.
National Grid is an international energy delivery company. In the U.S., National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, and manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. National Grid also owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation that provides power to over one million LIPA customers.