Microgrids are an essential element of smart grids and are identified as a key component for improving power reliability and quality, increasing system energy efficiency, and providing the possibility of grid-independence to individual end-user sites. Microgrids support a flexible and efficient electric grid by enabling the integration of growing deployments of distributed energy resources such as solar and wind power. According to a recent Navigant report, spending on microgrid enabling technologies will reach 112 billion dollars by 2026. While the development of microgrids and distributed energy technologies are underway, a recent Department of Energy jobs report indicates that the U.S. does not have enough skilled workers to fill 1.5 million new energy jobs by 2030. Furthermore, even the most experienced workers often lack the updated skills and training needed to successfully support the advanced systems, tools and devices that make up microgrids. Hence it is important to develop new courses that can equip our students with the necessary technical skills to enter the microgrids job market.
This paper presents the development of a new course on microgrids and distributed energy resources. This course is a follow up to a previously developed course on Smart Grids. The paper will discuss the course content, the pedagogical approach used to deliver the course, and some of the students’ projects and presentations.