PGE Foundation awards $50,000 grant to PSU for power engineering teaching lab

Portland General Electric’s corporate foundation, the PGE Foundation, recently awarded a $50,000 grant to Portland State for a power engineering teaching laboratory that will help prepare engineering students for careers in the power industry.

“The electric utility industry is embarking on significant change in how we generate and deliver power to our customers,” said Jim Piro, president and CEO of PGE.

“Building a smarter energy grid will require highly trained engineers. We strongly support educational institutions like PSU, which are developing educational pathways and hands-on learning for students to become power engineers,” he added.

The PGE Foundation grant will support the development of the lab for the Electrical and Computer Engineering department in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The program includes industry-relevant, hands-on projects as part of the curriculum, and will lead students to a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in electrical engineering with a specialization in power engineering.

The lab is directed by associate professor Robert Bass.

“This is a perfect example of a public/private partnership,” PSU President Wim Wiewel said. “Our job is to train the future employees of Portland, Oregon and beyond. PGE recognizes that and is helping us do it through programs like the PGE Foundation power engineering lab. It’s just smart business all around.”

In 2010 Piro and Wiewel signed a memorandum of understanding formalizing an alliance between PSU and PGE. The alliance emerged from a joint task force to investigate potential efforts that would contribute to a common vision of Portland as a leader in developing and implementing urban sustainability.

PSU and PGE work together on research, economic development, community projects and professional training aligned with two main themes, “Urban Mobility” and “Integration of Energy and Sustainable Design.”

The goal is to leverage this work in support of a strong and vibrant regional economy.

A previous PGE Foundation grant created the PGE Foundation Renewable Energy Research Laboratory at PSU.

In 2011 PSU and PGE worked together to open Electric Avenue on the PSU campus—the nation’s first street dedicated to showcasing electric transportation technology.

PGE and the PGE Foundation have contributed more than $850,000 in financial support to PSU, in addition to donations of professional expertise over the past nearly 30 years.