IBM addresses gap in industry around knowledge and expertise of Smart Grids

IBM collaborates with academia and industry to educate and prepare IT professionals, telecommunications engineers, and electrical power engineers for the electricity networks of the future

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SYDNEY, Australia - 11 Apr 2011: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a unique education offering to be delivered in partnership with academia and industry. An Applied Smart Grids Course has been launched at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and represents a first of its kind collaboration between IBM, UNSW and Ausgrid (formerly EnergyAustralia).

The course aims to help develop the skills of telecommunications engineers, power engineers, software and information technology engineers, project managers and executive sponsors who oversee smart grid projects, and arm them with the knowledge necessary to deliver complex smart grid programs. As part of its mission to develop and foster the adoption of smart grids around the world, IBM, Ausgrid and UNSW will each contribute world-class expertise, thought leadership and teaching personnel to the course.

The Applied Smart Grid Course has been co-designed by experts from each organisation to cross-skill information and communication technologists and electrical power engineers, bringing knowledge from each others’ professions required to design and run the smart electricity grids of the future. “IBM is intent on addressing this knowledge gap within the electrical, telecommunications, and IT industries, and assisting the university to develop new material for its under-graduate and post-graduate power engineering curriculum,” said David Jones, Executive Project Manager, IBM Australia. “IBM brings design and delivery experience, industry research and global expertise and insights, and can help clearly articulate the business benefits of accelerating Australia’s adoption of smart grids.”

A smart grid is an electricity network that can be greener, more reliable, more efficient, and more interactive for households. Smart grids combine advanced communications, sensing and metering infrastructure within the existing electricity network to help electrical transmission and distribution companies to better understand what is happening in real-time inside the grid. IBM has been working collaboratively with Ausgrid and UNSW for the past 18 months to design the course, and has already conducted a pilot course in February 2011 to test and refine all elements.

Commenting on the introduction of the course, Adrian Clark, Smart Grid Manager, Ausgrid said, “The roll out of smart grids will improve the reliability of power supply for homes and businesses in Australia. It’s a great opportunity to use energy more efficiently, but key to success are the skills and knowledge of the engineers managing the networks. Smart grids have created a new breed of engineer – one that needs a mix of engineering, IT and telecommunication skills. This course helps get that mix right.”

Professor Vassilios Agelidis, Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications and Director of the Centre for Energy Research and Policy Analysis at UNSW, has overseen the progress of the first batch of industry professionals who completed the course in February, with great success.

“We are delighted to be partners with IBM and Ausgrid for this groundbreaking project that addresses skill gaps in the industry linked to the most important energy technologies and smart grids. Contributing our world-class expertise in power engineering, electronic control of electricity networks, renewable energy grid integration, power electronic technologies and energy storage provides key insights to the complexity of smart grids.”

“It also highlights the value of building partnerships between industry and academia to deliver change in the electricity industry. The collaboration has ensured that different areas and levels of expertise are brought to the table, so that our students and industry professionals are provided with an advanced and comprehensive knowledge and set of skills to apply smart grids concepts to their areas of responsibility.”

The week long course will be offered again in June.


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