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Clean Technologies Building A New Energy Economy

Smart Grid


In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, WSU leads the nation’s efforts to increase the reliability and efficiency of the electric power grid. WSU scholars innovate new technologies to advance power grid operation and control, dependability, and security. They seek ways to automate power distribution, integrate renewably generated power, and prevent blackouts. Faculty experts like Anjan Bose, National Academy Member and senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy, are working to develop a software platform for testing the “Smart Grid:” the computer-automated network that distributes electricity nationwide.

Energy Systems Innovation Center

Under the direction of Dr. Chen-Ching Liu, the Center conducts multidisciplinary studies on electric energy and its social and economic impacts. Its work supports development of public policy at the state and federal levels. The Center also collaborates with government and industry to advance research and development, workforce training, and strategies for economic growth. It has forged collaborative research and learning programs with educational institutions worldwide.

Partnering with industry leaders

WSU research in the fields of electrical power and energy systems dates back to the 1930s, with the testing of hydroelectric dam models. Today the University collaborates with industry partners such as Bonneville Power Administration (which transmits power throughout the Pacific Northwest), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and utility providers to conduct research and increase public awareness of energy and environmental issues.

Sharing expertise

WSU scholars are developing a program to train engineers in clean energy and the smart electric power grid. Their work is supported by a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

In addition, the University’s power engineering experts share their knowledge on high-level committees of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers), CIGRÉ (International Council on Large Electric Systems), and the National Academies. They exchange information at numerous conferences and courses, among them the Western Protective Relay Conference; the Power and Energy Automation Conference; and the Hands-On Relay School, a professional development short course held at Washington State University.