Training for the Transition to Renewables

By Susan DeGrane | Oct 15, 2021
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The biggest changes to energy infrastructure in more than a century are happening right now. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and Wood Mackenzie, the share of renewable energy in the United States is expected to double by 2050, and the installed base of energy storage systems worldwide is expected to grow 27 times by the end of this decade.

“The energy transition has created a new power paradigm,” said Jeff Krakowiak, senior vice president of marketing and commercial operations at Eaton. “Power used to flow in only one direction, from where it was generated to where it was used. Now it must flow bidirectionally between distributed energy resources (DERs).”

Like renewables, the proliferation of DERs and corresponding energy storage systems demands far more technical know-how. Because of that, Eaton, a leader in industry training, has stepped up its instructional game. The company has added new courses of study and new ways to access them.

Before the pandemic, Eaton’s Experience Centers in Pittsburgh and Houston provided hands-on construction and electrical training for 12,000 people each year.

For nearly a year and a half, the pandemic necessitated switching Eaton’s hands-on training to virtual formats. For the electrical industry, this gave rise to Eaton’s “Power in Focus” series.

While Eaton recognizes that hands-on training programs are essential, the company continues to forge ahead with additional flexibility, no matter what the pandemic deals out.

“As training leaders, we recognize there will always be a need for in-person education sessions,” Krakowiak said. “At the same time, we’ve accelerated our virtual learning programs to fill the void created by canceled or postponed events. Moving forward, we want to provide additional flexibility for accessing much-needed new knowledge, regardless of whatever may be happening in the world.”

Because the transition to renewable sources of power is driving energy systems to become more connected, Eaton has focused on developing training to support digitalization and cybersecurity.

New to the lineup of the company’s most requested training topics is the Cybersecurity Perspectives program, which provides access to training on how to manage cybersecurity risk.

That new training comes on the heels of seminal research Eaton has been conducting in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on initiatives enabling utilities and businesses to accurately detect and respond to cyberattacks. The research was made possible through funding issued in December 2020 by the U.S. Department of Energy Technology Commercialization Fund.

About The Author

DeGrane is a Chicago-based freelance writer. She has covered electrical contracting, renewable energy, senior living and other industries with articles published in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times and trade publications. Reach her at [email protected].

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