OIT receives $2.5 million grant from Dept. of Energy
Oregon Institute of Technology got word today that it received a $2,491,100 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to support renewable energy engineering.
The three-year project will build on the success of OIT’s bachelor’s degree program in Renewable Energy Engineering, the first program of its kind in the U.S. The institute plans to use the funds to hire new faculty, strengthen the curriculum, equip labs and engage in more outreach opportunities in various industries.
“OIT's unique value to Oregon is its ability to respond to the needs of industry, providing demand-driven, highly-skilled technical employees for Oregon’s business community,” said Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. “This investment from the Department of Energy will help OIT produce the next generation of electric power and renewable energy engineers who will help the nation solve its energy challenges.”
Oregon University System chancellor George Pernsteiner said, “On behalf of the System and the State Board of Higher Education, we're grateful for this investment by the U.S. Department of Energy in OIT's unique renewable energy programs and activities. With a growing green industry in Oregon and the need for renewable and clean energy options, there is a great need to build and fill the pipeline for Oregon's next generation of green professionals who can support new technologies. OIT's expertise and leadership in renewable energy in Oregon and nationally will be further supported by this important investment.”
OIT plans to hire five new full time faculty members, two in Klamath Falls and three in the Portland area. A part-time industry consortium outreach coordinator will also come on board. New faculty are critical to support increased student enrollment, expanded laboratory facilities and a more robust interdisciplinary curriculum.
An enhanced curriculum will include offerings in history, economics and policies of the power industry as well as a strong fundamental engineering foundation, a project-based course of study, and design opportunities related to power generation, transmission, energy storage and power electronics.
New labs will provide hands-on engineering education opportunities to prepare graduates to meet the challenges facing the electric power industry. The following labs are planned: power system modeling and analysis, distributed power systems, power conditioning, and utility-focused energy storage.
Extending industry engagement and strengthening OIT’s energy engineering focus will be achieved through advisory council input, bringing experts to teach courses at OIT, and placing students in valuable internships and sponsored senior projects at electric power and wind companies, and power engineering consultancies.
In addition to the federal funds, OIT will contribute $107,938 and industry partners have indicated support for $266,000, making the total project pencil out at $2,865,038.
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