Avista‘s Smart Grid projects are part of a changing landscape in the way energy is delivered. More and
more utilities across the country are incorporating smart grid technologies into their system. New “smart” technologies will present challenges and opportunities for the existing and future workforce. Electric utility occupations will change, and new jobs and skill sets will emerge.
To meet the growing demand for implementing smart grid technology, workforce training is critical. Avista is a partner in the Pacific NW Center of Excellence for Clean Energy Smart Grid project, along with several utilities and colleges in the region. The project creates training programs that will result in a smart grid enabled workforce. Avista will receive $1.3 million of a $5 million DOE grant for the project through 2013.
The goals of the smart grid workforce training program are to:
- Create and deliver curriculum, programs, and training for smart grid technologies and applications to utility workers in a five state region that includes Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana
- Create an online smart grid training and information portal to be shared by utilities, businesses, and consumers through these four states
- Share best practices on smart grid training using a regional approach
As part of the work force training project, Avista also plans to:
- Upgrade the Jack Stewart Training Center with a substation and distribution circuits equipped with smart grid technology, to serve as a regional training center for the delivery of smart grid field training. The connected facilities will create an authentic training environment that will simulate real life work situations for field personnel.
- Update Avista training programs for apprentices, journeymen and pre-line school students to incorporate smart grid technology
The project specifically targets ten supply and demand side occupations that will require workforce training to prepare the labor force for emerging smart grid technologies such as:
- Supply side: Instrument Control/Relay Specialist (Generation and Load Dispatchers); Generation, Load and Substation Operators; Line Workers; Substation Wireman/Mechanics; and Ground Crews
- Demand side: Customer Service Representatives; Meter Technicians; Energy Advisors; Energy Conservation Program Administrators; Resource Conservation Managers
Interested in a career with Avista? Visit Avista Careers.
For more information on this project, as well as links to where you can receive training and education to become a qualified candidate for the ten occupations targeted through the project, visit Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy.