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Assessing the Safety of Utility-Owned Smart Grid Equipment

smart grid safety online courses learn NESC smart grid

One of the biggest frontiers in electrical engineering today is the development and implementation of smart grid technology. Fueled by the global demand for greener technologies and alternative fuels, environmentally-friendly smart grid technology has the ability to stimulate stagnated economies and change the way power is delivered to electricity consumers around the world.

Smart grid technology combines existing electrical infrastructure with digital technologies and advanced application to provide much more efficient, reliable and cost-effective energy distribution. It’s a merger of power systems, information technology, telecommunications, switchgear and local power generation, along with other fields. As these separate technologies become merged, new safety considerations must be taken into account.

Ever since the days of Thomas Edison, people have been concerned with the safety of electrical devices. As innovative technologies and new opportunities and safety issues arise, the National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC®) evolves to address any and all concerns.

As Technology Advances, So Does the NESC

As plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and full electric vehicles (EVs) replace gasoline-only burning vehicles, public parking lots will need to be equipped with outdoor charging stations, including pay-for-use charging stations. These stations will integrate technologies such as electrical metering, switching, information technology, telecommunications and currency handling technology.

Safety comes into play in making the charging station terminals safe for unskilled drivers to use, guarding against intentional access to hazardous voltages, as well as in protecting communication circuits. This may mean putting telecommunication protectors at each end of a campus-run communication conductor where an exposure to lightning or to accidental contact with electric power conductors exists.

Vehicle charging stations are just one example of how advances in technology lead to NESC updates.

Stay on Top of the NESC

smart grid safety national electrical safety code 2017 ieee standardsThe safety of utility-owned smart grid equipment within power generation or transmission circuits, up to and including the service conductors to customer buildings, will to continue to be evaluated for safety in accordance with basic utility safety standards or codes, including NESC.

To help your company prepare to comply with the latest safety guidelines, IEEE offers a complete seven-course NESC program online through IEEE Xplore :

Order the complete program today and stay on top of the critical tech issues affecting the industry.

Resources

Gies, Don. (1 Mar 2014). Safety Considerations for Smart Grid Technology Equipment. In Compliance.

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Upskilling Employees Effectively in 2018

IEEE courses Xplore libraryThe forecast calls for digitization that will put people out of work. However, the reality is a blizzard of job openings that may pile up due to an untrained workforce.

Although talk of automation and artificial intelligence often leads to fear of unprecedented unemployment, advances in technology have repeatedly led to more jobs, not fewer. Mike Train, Executive President at Emerson Automation Solutions, suggests, “The transition can be bumpy, but invariably the outcome is more societal wealth and more employment, often in new occupations.”

Training Today’s Employees

According to a report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, modern manufacturing will produce nearly 3.5 million job vacancies in the United States from 2015-2025. Nearly 2 million may go unfilled due to lack of skills.

IEEE educational activities standardsTo address the skills gap, companies have to find skilled workers, and also must develop and engage their existing workforces. Companies like AT&T, Boeing and Google are working to get ahead of the curve, placing more emphasis on education and training programs for their employees.

And employees are ready to learn! A study focused on the evolving expectations and experiences of the digital generations (those in their 20s and 30s) shows that, in the U.S., the main factors for wanting to learn include more career stability, increased job security, improved leadership and management skills. In addition, a new report from AACSB International, an association of business schools, shows that those in the digital generations are increasingly open to online education and digital certifications, as many desire a more-self-directed learning approach. Targeted learning modules are the key to effective training.

Ready to Upskill Your Staff?

Studies have shown that companies that invest in staff training programs improve employee productivity by 30%, while also greatly increasing the company’s ability to engage and retain key talent. Get your workforce started today with IEEE’s Continuing Education courses in emerging technologies and cutting edge topics. Courses are peer-reviewed and taught by the world’s leading experts, so you can be sure employees will get the essential skills needed to stay competitive.

As rapid changes in technology compel engineers to update their technical knowledge, many engineers are also seeking training programs offering continuing education units and professional development hours. Learn more about offering IEEE Certificates at your next training event.

Resources

Train, Mike. (18 Mar 2018). Train: The future of automation begins with a digital workforce. Houston Chronicle.

Smith, Ernie. (6 Mar 2018). Business School Study Highlights Shifting Education Needs of Digital Generations. Associations Now.

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