Area of study: energy

The Internet has its Googles and eBays, while the emerging smart energy grid’s counterparts are yet to come. But they will. New companies are already emerging, and established companies such as GE, IBM, and CISCO are expanding to engineer the smart grid—the opportunities ahead are as large as what we have already seen with the Internet.

The Digital Energy Program (DEP) at CU-Boulder is training the next generation of leaders to transform our ageing energy infrastructure with smart communications networks. It’s a rapidly emerging field that promises dramatic growth.

With a cross discipline study of engineering, economics and regulatory policy, you will be prepared to design and manage the integration of two-way communications into the electric power grid. Keys to this initiative include technologies for advanced metering, automation of energy distribution and transmission, IP networks, wireless communication, and network security.

This focus on energy communication networks will set you on a high growth career path in the new energy economy. DEP will give you the tools you need to enter and lead the new energy economy.

New smart grids are going to do for energy what the Internet did for information. The emerging smart grid is also going to help bring renewable energies such as solar and wind into the energy mixture. If you have a technical head and a passion for the environment, DEP can empower you in this arena.

The smart grid will also make the electric power grid more resilient to avoid blackouts and brownouts, and distribute energy more efficiently. This is a critical time for putting two-way communication networks into the grid. You can help achieve this.

The basic infrastructure of many countries, including the United States, is out of date, and will now be rebuilt in new ways. Some countries are leapfrogging directly to smart grids. The network engineers and professionals who know how to regulate, manage, design, and build these grids will hold high places in companies and agencies. The standards for smart grids are developing now, and much is going to happen in this field. Students entering the field now can help to shape it. Moreover, the need to address climate change is going to drive new industries including renewable energy and smart grids. Join us to accept this challenge.

“To address climate change and energy independence, and vast growth in consumption, we’re going to need monstrous amounts of efficient electricity. The smart power grid will let us improve efficiency and reliability and reduce consumption by knowing where electricity is needed and when it’s needed.” —Professor Frank Barnes

Who Should Apply?

The Digital Energy program is designed for students from a wide selection of backgrounds:

  • Professionals seeking to become executives or advance their careers
  • Engineers in the electric utilities who want to expand their skills
  • IT Professionals who want to enter the energy field
  • Business people and environmentalists who want to study smart grids
  • Policy makers who want to understand the industry trends

All Digital Energy student candidates should have an understanding of calculus-based physics to be adequately prepared for the program.


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