A collaboration of energy industry partners has submitted a proposal for research and support to build “Smart Grid - the Game” with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, Pub. L. 111-5). It is focused on studying the potential value of gaming technology to teach and select the next generation of system operators and engineers.

The hypothesis is that gaming may be a more effective way of teaching principles and situational awareness, and attracting, screening and recruiting talent for some new entrants and continuing professionals in the industry.

“We believe that a gaming platform could be the perfect complement to other methods as the industry reinvests in the systems and training necessary to rebuild and refocus the energy grid. This grant will give us a chance to study that idea, and to perhaps prove it,” said System Operations Success, International (SOS Intl) co-founder and Chairman, Matt Sadinsky.

The tools in “Smart Grid – the Game” will help the industry address the unprecedented attrition of experienced professionals due to retirement and better prepare a new generation of system operators, planners and engineers to enter careers in utilities across the electric power industry.

This collaborative approach is spearheaded by SOS Intl of Charlotte, NC and includes The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), George Mason University’s (GMU) Center for Smart Power Grids, City of Burbank, CA Dept of Water and Power, Cleveland Public Power and the Southern California Public Power Authority. Other participants include Incremental Systems Corporation of Issaquah, WA, Prequalified Ready Employees for Power (PREP Intl) of Charlotte, NC and Western Services Corporation of Frederick, MD.

David Walden, Energy Systems Manager of Southern California Public Power Authority wrote, “These proposed situational simulations are ideal for prospective training on new technologies while demonstrating competence in Power System fundamentals and mastery of NERC and Smart Grid Standards. We look forward to participating in this project and improving the perception of what it means to work in the power industry and to providing innovative and challenging training and educational programs.”

This project was proposed under Topic B (Smart Grid Workforce Training) of the US Department of Energy Workforce Training for the Electric Power Sector Grant. Results of funding the proposal are expected to be announced by Jan. 31, 2010.