Babak Enayati, IEEE PES Vice President of Education

Education for all

Allow me to start with thanking you for being a valued PES member. Your contribution makes PES a great society. Whether you are involved in Student Chapter activities, local Chapter activities, conference local organizing committees, Chapter Counsels, Technical Committees, Smart Cities, Smart Grid, Smart Village, and/or other activities that I may have missed, a big THANK YOU for all of your hard work and dedication. Because of your efforts, PES is now the fastest growing IEEE society. Education is one of the key areas that enabled this growth and I am so thrilled to be a member of this team.

I selected “Education for All” as the topic of this article. So, let me explain what I mean by that. I am a strong believer in free education for everyone. Wealth should not define the level of education our children must receive. I know we are not there yet and what I am saying may sound like a dream. However, I want to let you know that PES is taking good steps in this direction; and soon, you will hear some good news from PES on the educational product pricing.

When I wake up every morning, I spend a few minutes on checking a mobile application called “Earth Now”. This application, which is designed by NASA, gives me real-time information on Earth’s vital signs like air temperature, carbon dioxide levels, Ozone challenges, etc. This reminds me every day that investing in clean energy, carbon capturing, achieving net zero greenhouse gas emission targets, etc is not a plan for future anymore. We are already witnessing the impact of climate change and we need to act fast.

We are all living in a strange time these days due to Covid-19. The Pandemic impacted many industries like manufacturing businesses, airlines, etc. The air and ground transportation were significantly reduced, the manufacturing businesses that emit CO2 slowed down, we continued to integrate more and more renewable energy sources to the electric grid. However, the greenhouse gas emission reduction is expected to go from 51 Billion tons to about 48-49 Billion tons (reduction by only 5%) due to the Pandemic. To me, this is alarming. We need to do more to save the planet and the Pandemic data showed that targeting airlines and transportation industry and manufacturing businesses is a must but is not enough. And think about this, we are still seeing global barriers ahead of us just to integrate more renewable energy resources and transportation electrification. Hence, time is running up and we need to act properly.

I believe that one of the reasons for slow progress on reducing greenhouse gas emission is lack of education on the difference between climate and weather, greenhouse effect and global warming, carbon capturing, electric grid enhancing technologies to allow clean energy generation and transportation electrification, and of course policy.

Well, I have good news for you. PES has been very active in providing educational material to support the net zero greenhouse gas emission targets. Most of these products are developed by PES University and are posted onto the PES Resource Center. Feel free to download these products. With all of this great work that we have done so far, we are still at the early phases of our mission, which is to educate everyone in the Energy Sector on the importance of climate change and ways to limit the global warming.

Let me throw in another question for you. From engineering perspective, what do you think we need to do to manage high penetration of clean energy resources and electric vehicle charging stations? Here is my answer: we need grid enhancing technologies with a proper communication infrastructure in place. The technologies include but not limited to smart grid, distributed energy resource management system (DERMS), energy storage, dynamic line and transformer rating technologies, etc. PES University has been very active in producing educational material on these topics. I strongly recommend that you review the products that are posted onto the PES Resource Center.

Let’s also not forget this basic fact that enabling many of net zero greenhouse gas emission targets in the electricity sector requires an electric grid. So, cutting edge technologies and utility of the future should not get all of our attention. Utilities still need to manage their wires and transformers to ensure clean and affordable power delivery to their customers. So, let’s not forget about educating the utility workforce to manage the electric assets. We are now moving towards condition-based asset management techniques, which enable online monitoring of the asset health to reduce the unexpected system outages. You will also find more information about Asset Management Maturity on the PES Resource Center.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Feel free to reach out to me via email at: babak.enayati@nationalgrid.com or Facebook, or LinkedIn.

I look forward to connecting with you!