Tech, GE partner for Smart Grid Center

Last week, Governor Nathan Deal announced the creation of The Smart Grid Technology Center of Excellence, a project by GE Energy, a worldwide supplier of power generation and energy delivery technologies. The center represents an important collaboration with the Institute and will open near GE Energy’s existing Marietta headquarters in Cobb County.
Through this project, GE Energy has formed a joint venture with Tech to conduct research and development related to smart grid technology, as well as to develop its workforce. Smart grid technology is gaining popularity and support quickly. The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded $100 million in grants to companies and colleges to train people in the technology, and President Barack Obama has spoken in support of smart grid development.
GE Energy has pledged $1.5 million to Tech in support of this new partnership, which represents the single largest educational undertaking the company has made to date.
“Research on smart grid technologies and their related systems is important at Tech, so there are limitless opportunities to collaborate with GE Energy,” said Greg King, Strategic Partners Officer at Tech. “We look forward to working with GE Energy in this latest area of technology and innovation.”
Tech has identified research, laboratory, infrastructure and test opportunities that GE Energy will leverage for its smart grid technologies. In accordance with this, GE Energy will partner with Tech’s Distance Learning and Professional Education program, as well as the University System of Georgia’s Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP) to develop customized smart grid technology content. The solutions generated though the Center are intended to lower electricity rates, continually improve efficiency, and reduce use of natural resources.
There are plans to implement this content within an existing degree program at Tech. The company will work with ICAPP and Tech to develop coursework and electives for a Professional Masters in Systems Engineering degree in smart grid systems and technologies. The company also received a research grant from the Georgia Research Alliance to fund the infrastructure and equipment for GE Energy’s collaboration with Tech.
This project represents a $15 million investment, and is estimated to create around 400 jobs for Georgians throughout the next three years. The GE Energy Smart Grid Technology Center of Excellence will be responsible for developing smart grid technology to send to markets around the world. The Center will also manage the research and development of new technology for power plant automation and monitoring electrical grids, again in order to improve efficiency.
Bob Gilligan, Vice President of GE’s Digital Energy business, believes that the relationship between GE Energy and Atlanta will be mutually beneficial.
GE’s Smart Grid Center is located in Marietta, near GE’s headquarters. The interactive “Experience Center” is compatible with users of any age, and can coordinate with smart phones, iPads, and other new technologies to enrich the experience. This customer experience exhibit, housed on the groundfloor of the center, will have video demonstrations and interactive displays to help explain exactly what the smart grid is, and why it’s the future.
Schools and organized groups can make reservations at the facility for free admission.
“When we put the design together we thought about the different personas we would be bringing through the showcase,” Quintal said. “Of course they were the electric utilities and the engineers, but also the local Cub Scout troop or the high school student who may be doing a project on the smart grid, or a teacher in the classroom. We tried to keep all these groups in mind.”
Members of the project have expressed a continued desire to coordinate with, and hire Tech affiliates to work on this program.
“This has been a partnership with GE and Tech and a combination of government, the private sector and academia,” Deal said. “Together, we can do some important things and help change the attitude in our culture in regards to energy.”

Comments are closed.