Smart Grid Student Testimonials

Leah Y Parks, Associate Editor, & Electricity Daily

"The Smart Grid class is a class that should not be missed by anyone interested in staying abreast of the current developments in the smart grid and learning about where our 21st century electricity infrastructure is headed.

The lead professor, Jeff Hammarlund, puts together a team of expert professors as teachers who have actual experience working in the field.  They all bring important and often eyeopening perspectives.  The course material is relevant and informative.

Jeff creates an environment of mentoring, community, learning and an unsurpassed place for networking.  In addition to motivated and exciting graduate students from PSU, there are also individuals from a great breadth of professional expertise in the industry. The team of teachers is very top notch, but Jeff’s sincere love of supporting and encouraging his students, young and old, is a breath of fresh air.  After leaving the university, professionals often find it hard to encounter a truly mentoring environment.  Jeff creates not only a space for learning, but a place where students and teachers engage in bi-directional mentoring and support. 

It was a great pleasure meeting such a diverse group of people.   I personally developed friendships with colleagues and met a person (currently an attorney) who had attended the same graduate engineering program that I had at Stanford University.  He 15 years back and I 10 years back.  When working on the project, my group was composed of professionals from whom I learned a lot and motivated graduate students whom were a pleasure to work with and whom we all took great joy in seeing land amazing internships directly from work done during this course.  One of the professionals in my group also shares my passion for energy storage and we continue, one year and a half years later, to meet at energy storage conferences around the country, inform each other of important storage initiatives happening in Portland, and share e-mails when we find a good story. 

Now back to course content: This course looks at what smart grid gismos as well and infrastructure will be needed and are expected in the present and near future.  The course gets course attendees involved in projects where students are pushed to think about and initiate a process of working out the nuts and bolts of how our grid architecture must evolve to meet the needs of a 21st century grid.  

Knowing what is coming is important.  The utility industry is changing at breakneck speed.  Barclays downgraded the entire electric sector of the U.S. high-grade corporate bond market to underweight. There is an expected consumer shift to solar + storage from dropping prices.  This shift portends grid defection in the next few years in parts of the country.   Customers continue to be inundated with new gismos like the “Nest” and the technology industry is putting pressure on the utility industry as well.  Google, Microsoft, and Solar City are all interested in becoming players in this field and are not necessary working with the existing utilities.

Jeff is the type of person who truly wants his students to learn about the electricity industry, create bonds, engage in bi-directional mentoring, and to help their career flourish.  He is not only successful, intelligent and a guru in the field, but he brings other gurus and experts together to learn and teach each other.  Everyone in the class is both a student and a teacher, a mentor and being mentored at the same time.

This is a special and unique learning environment.  A graduate student should come because of the amazing learning and connections to be made.  A professional should come for the chance to not only learn from some of the top professionals in the field, but for the chance to meet colleagues, special students, and experts in an exciting and cutting edge class."

Abraham Mooney, P.E. Signals Engineer – TriMet "You can’t have a future of renewable energy without the smart grid; it as simple as that.  In the current paradigm generation follows load, ramping up and down to accommodate.  All the flexibility in the system is built into the generation side.  The future will turn that on its head.  Load must follow generation with consumers carrying the flexibility.  The flexibility is handled via the ‘internet of things’ where consumers decide when and how to use electricity.  Do I care most about price? Instead do I want the most green energy?  Or perhaps I’m a dinosaur and I don’t care about either of these options and I just want the power on demand, the most expensive option. The way (and the when) we use power will be optional and subject to market demands.  Odd as it may seem, this new paradigm is the only way to accommodate the variability of renewable energy sources.  Jeff Hammarlund’s course will talk you through the ins and outs of this incredibly complex technical and political paradigm change.  It’s the wave of the future."

Ben Walsh, Principal, Mitler Construction Management, Green Builder "The course structure directly engages participants with current industry leaders and issues. The timeliness of the subject matter and the instructors' and presenters' depth of expertise make for an exceptional educational opportunity and, in my experience, value for the professional development dollar."

Ken Kaufmann, Partner, Lovinger Kaufmann LLP. "DSGSC is a worthwhile course for every professional interested in expanding his or her breadth of understanding of technical and policy issues related to the smart grid. The lectures focus on hot topics in the smart grid field, are delivered by articulate experts, and generate lively conversation among the students, each of whom brings a unique perspective from his or her diverse academic and professional background. The course deepened my understanding of the subject matter and fostered many new professional friendships. I recommend it for professionals seeking to stay abreast of smart grid developments as well as for students planning to work in the electric energy industry."

Ryan Edge Research Analyst, Solar Electric Power Association, Washington DC “It was the most comprehensive and incisive study of the technologies, policies, issues and business models required of the next iteration of the electric grid. The faculty is leaders in their respective fields and a formidable ensemble. The course led directly to the job I have today working to integrate solar and develop enlightened utility business models.”

Chris Chambers - past participant "As a former student of the class I have to award it the best course in my whole program. The reading is fascinating because the operation of the power grid is basically a big secret yet crucially important to how fast we can build solar, wind, and drive electric vehicles. But the most valuable feature is probably the chance to work in small groups with professionals. Those projects gave me a window to a suite of soft skills we don't talk about in our other courses (time keeping, large document management, overall workflow) and a tremendous chance to network.

I was referred for my first career job by someone I met in the class, and a project I did gave me the experience to qualify. I have included that PSU advanced lighting projection project in nearly every cover letter I've sent out in the past year, and talked about it in every interview. I have not talked about my HR case study or Supreme Court decision ever. Even if it weren't a path to employment, it's one of the most interesting subjects in natural resource policy.”

Kirsten Midura - Senior Consultant, Navigant "I took the course during the last round, and I found it to be an essential class for anyone interested in the Smart Grid or advanced metering infrastructure. Jeff Hammarlund is one of the most brilliant and entertaining lecturers I have had in my academic and professional careers. Furthermore, this class provides a great opportunity to expand your professional network and share knowledge with like-minded individuals. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who is even remotely interested in the future of energy and energy technology.”