PGE Foundation awards $50K grant to PSU for power engineering teaching lab
Author: Scott Gallagher
Posted: November 26, 2012


November 19, 2012 – The PGE Foundation — Portland General Electric’s corporate foundation — recently awarded a $50K grant to Portland State University in support of a power engineering teaching laboratory to prepare engineering students for careers in the power industry.

“The electric utility industry is embarking on significant change in how we generate and deliver power to our customers,” said Jim Piro, president and CEO, PGE. “Building a smarter energy grid will require highly trained engineers. We strongly support educational institutions like PSU, which are developing educational pathways and hands-on learning for students to become power engineers.” 

The PGE Foundation grant will support the development of a power engineering teaching laboratory for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. The program includes industry-relevant, hands-on projects as part of students’ curriculum and will lead to bachelor’s and master’s electrical engineering degrees with specializations in power engineering. The lab is directed by Associate Professor Robert Bass.

“This is a perfect example of a public/private partnership,” said PSU President Wim Wiewel. “Our job is to train the future employees of Portland, Oregon, and beyond. PGE recognizes that and is helping us do it through programs like the PGE Foundation Power Engineering Lab. It’s just smart business all around.”

In 2010 Piro and Wiewel signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalizing a strategic alliance between PSU and PGE. The alliance emerged from a joint task force to investigate potential efforts that would contribute to a common vision of Portland as a leader in developing and implementing urban sustainability.

PSU and PGE work together on research, economic development, community projects, and professional training aligned with two main themes: “Urban Mobility” and “Integration of Energy and Sustainable Design.” The goal is to leverage this work in support of a strong and vibrant regional economy. Previously a PGE Foundation grant created the PGE Foundation Renewable Energy Research Lab at PSU. In 2011 PSU and PGE worked together to open Electric Avenue on the PSU campus — the nation’s first street dedicated to showcasing electric transportation technology. PGE and the PGE Foundation have contributed more than $850,000 in financial support to PSU, plus invaluable donations of professional expertise over the past nearly 30 years. 

About Portland State University (PSU)

Located in Portland, Oregon, PSU has about 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. PSU’s motto is “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” and we provide every student with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects. Our downtown campus exhibits PSU’s commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while sustainability is incorporated into much of the curriculum.


About the PGE Foundation

The PGE Foundation, the corporate foundation of Portland General Electric, was established in 1997 as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization with a permanent endowment. The Foundation’s giving is separate from the corporate giving of PGE. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $15 million to help improve the quality of life for all Oregonians by supporting statewide programs and services that encourage healthy families, provide educational opportunities and encourage the arts and cultural diversity. Gwyneth Gamble Booth is chair and Carole Morse is president. To learn more about the PGE Foundation, visit