ECEDHA MEETING Plenary Panel VI: The Future Role of Energy in the ECE Curriculum Horacio J. Marquez Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta Canada March 20, 2007 Outline Statistics from the power sector* Discuss possible implications. *
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Plenary Panel VI: The Future Role of Energy in theECE CurriculumHoracio J. MarquezChair of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of AlbertaEdmonton, AlbertaCanadaMarch 20, 2007
*Keeping the Future Bright, 2004 Canadian Electricity Human Resource Sector Study, Produced by the Canadian Electricity Association.
The picture shows human dependence on electric energy, particularly in the developed countries. The electric power grid is the most complex man-made networks in the world – far more complex than the internet.
- 60% Hydro
- 24.2% Thermal (coal/gas)
- 12.4% Nuclear
- 3.4% Other (wind, solar, etc)
The following graph shows the age distribution in the electricity sector
- 28.8% of the engineers are over 50 years old
- 15% are below 30.
In the US, the average age is 48, nearly 4 years older that the national average
- Reduced reliability
- Increased cost of production
- Infrastructure projects delayed
- Decreased safety and production due to worker shortages.
We are not producing enough engineers to supply to this industry.
Number of Engineers in the workforce:
Estimated Supply-Demand Gap per-year
Estimated Total Projected Deficit for the period
- Declining workforce.
- Youth consulted had little or no awareness of the electricity sector as a career option. Employers share this view.
- Statistics show that only 5% of engineers work in the utility sector.
- Only a very small fraction of the recent electrical and mechanical engineering graduates were hired to work in the electricity sector.
Over he past 2-3 decades, most Electrical Engineering programs have drastically reduced the number of power systems-power electronics courses in the ECE curriculum.
- power companies always complain that EE graduates
are not well prepared to work in the electricity sector;
even those who graduate from schools with strong
At the same time, most schools have reduced the number of faculty members with research interests in power systems.
Or perhaps the previous two points should be listed in reverse order…
- But there are good reasons for these changes –Some Facts to Consider
- wireless communications and wireless networks
- VLSI, electronics
- Digital signal and image processing
- Computer Engineering (all areas)
- nanoengineering (more recently)
- (Claim) power systems is one of the fundamental building blocks that make electrical engineering, electrical engineering.
- generate new interest in ECE programs
- bring awareness of the importance and/or existence of the electricity sector as a career option
- attract employers and strengthen contact with industrial partners.
promotion is overwhelming in nanoengineering, biomed, communications, etc, but uncommon in the power sector, except for Kyoto and high utility prizes.
Student view power systems as rather old… and boring… (isn’t that why we stopped hiring ???)
- The power industry should invest in enhancing the visibility of their sector.
- Alternative energy sources (wind, solar)
- high efficiency combustion turbines
- distributed generation and automation
- hybrid systems
- Power line networking
- Nano engineered insulating materials
- Engineering has always attracted students interested in math and physics … who chose engineering over science because of better jobs prospects…
- But, in recent years, Electrical engineering jobs are not perceived as been as “secure” as they once were.
- Electrical Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Environmental Engineering
- Materials Engineering
- in 1996 the entrance requirement in the faculty of engineering was a high school average of 74%.
- in 2006 is was 80% and the number of students entering has more than doubled.
- the average grade of the students entering first year was 87%.
- 30% of the students entering first year had a GPA of 90% or higher.
- The Faculty is now discussing raising the entrance requirements to avoid overcrowding.
Power Systems is a traditional area of Electrical Engineering.
New developments in the area justify re-introducing power in the EE curriculum.