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Smart Grid for Sustainable Communities

Designing the Smart Grid for Sustainable Communities: Version 4.0

This two-term course series is offered once every two years. It examines a set of emerging concepts, technologies, applications and business models, and the complex trade-off decisions related to transforming the nation’s century-old, centralized power grid into a climate and renewable energy-friendly “Smart Grid.”

The course series stresses a cross-disciplinary approach, deepening individual areas of expertise in the context of teamwork. The first term establishes a basic Smart Grid literacy, while the second term applies this knowledge base to specific case studies. Both terms include lectures, active learning strategies, individual and group projects, class presentations from guest speakers and seminar participants, and field trips. The series closes with a small public forum during which student teams will present their recommendations to a select group of community leaders.

The next Smart Grid for Sustainable Communities course series will be offered in Winter and Spring of 2015. If you are interested in receiving information about the 2015 courses, please email Nicole Savara-Brown at

The course information and syllabi from 2013 are posted below for reference:

Winter 2013 Course Flyer | Winter 2013 Syllabus

Spring 2013 Course Flyer | Spring 2013 Syllabus

Target Audience

  • Graduate students in engineering, information technology, public administration/policy, urban planning, business, economics, law, and related fields
  • Current and emerging leaders from the utility, information technology, public administration, architecture, urban and transportation planning, business, legal, and related communities who are interested in getting quickly up to speed on the smart grid as a part of their professional development.

Course Content

  • Use a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary team of faculty members and guest speakers that have both the academic background and substantive knowledge to teach this “cutting edge” course.
  • Adopt a cross-disciplinary approach to the subject that deepens individual areas of expertise within the context of teamwork. We are convinced that an ability to communicate across traditional disciplines is critical to the successful development of the smart grid.  It is also a skill that is highly valued by employers interested in positioning their companies for a successful future.

Course Features and Format

  • Use a two-term format that allows us to spend winter term getting up to speed on how the smart grid works, and spring term applying what we have learned on actual local projects through case studies that offer practical “real world” information about the opportunities and challenges involved in applying the smart grid to sustainable development.
  • Conclude the course sequence with a small public form during which student teams will present their recommendations to a select group of community leaders.


This program is proud to be sponsored by: