Power lines and windmills

WPI Energy Symposium to Address Need to Upgrade Electric Grid

Wanda Reder, chief strategy officer for S&C Electric Co., to deliver keynote
September 26, 2016

Wanda Reder, chief strategy officer for

S&C Electric Co.

Who/What: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will host its sixth annual Energy Symposium.

Titled “Upgrading the Grid with Renewables for a Sustainable Future,” the symposium is designed to highlight the technical and workforce development challenges associated with upgrading the electric power delivery system with renewable power generation; stimulate current students to consider careers in the industry; and share progress in building a pipeline of well qualified, diverse people to lead the industry in the future.

Each year, this symposium brings together representatives from government, electric utilities, independent electric system operators, manufacturers, contract firms, and educational organizations, along with interested students, to learn about the educational implications of current developments in the electric power industry.

Areas of focus for each year’s symposium are chosen by the Energy Strategy Board, composed of industry leaders interested in specialized graduate education.

When: Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Rubin Campus Center, Odeum

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

100 Institute Road

Worcester, Mass.


National Grid asked WPI to host these symposiums to identify the education and training needs of the power industry over the next five years and beyond.

“WPI is the top power engineering educator in the region and one of the top educators in the nation,” said Mike Ahern, director of power systems within WPI’s Corporate and Professional Education division.

Ahern noted that more than 160 students are taking graduate power engineering courses at WPI. Over the last several years, WPI had educated students from nearly three dozen states and six countries.

Additional details:

Wanda Reder, chief strategy officer for S&C Electric Co. in Chicago and a candidate for president-elect of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2017, will deliver the keynote address at 8:30 a.m. She will discuss the need to modernize the power grid to accommodate more renewables and to be more resilient. S&C Electric Co. is a leading global manufacturer of electrical switching, protection, and control equipment. Founded in 1911, the company is pioneering the design of new smart microgrids.

This year’s symposium will conclude with a panel hosted by the Worcester CleanTech Incubator and moderated by its executive director, Joe Bush ’04. The incubator’s mission is to foster the growth of new enterprises to address the most pressing issues of our time.

Other highlights:

  • 8 a.m. – Opening address by Matt Beaton ’00, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • 10 a.m. – Discussion of WPI’s power systems education and research
  • 1 p.m. – Energy strategy breakout session
  • 3 p.m. – Worcester CleanTech Incubator’s new energy business panel: “Highways and Byways in a Changing Energy Landscape”

For the full agenda, visit the 2016 Symposium page.

For media interviews: Contact Andy Baron at 508-831-5916, ajbaron@wpi.edu.