Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Utahns keep current, train for future with ‘green power’

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ (IBEW) Local 354 erected the turbine and installed an array of solar panels on the flat roof of its facility at 3400 W. 2100 North for two purposes — to generate enough electricity to offset its building’s uses, and to provide apprentice and journeyman electricians alike with training in “green energy” projects.

The IBEW has incorporated solar- and wind-power training into its ongoing education system just as Salt Lake Community College is about to establish a National Institute for Advanced Energy Training.

Using federal funds and forging partnerships with private energy companies and state and local agencies, the college has positioned itself to be training people all over the U.S. in green-energy jobs. That can-do attitude befits SLCC’s designation as “project leader for energy” in a cooperative effort by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the state Department of Workforce Services and the Utah System for Higher Education. Its goal is to accelerate development of energy-related companies and to supply skilled technicians to keep those businesses at the forefront of technical innovation.

With roughly $10 million in funding, the college has developed four regional “energy academies” that will provide worker training in topics such as green construction, alternative fuels, energy management, renewable-energy transmission, wind power, solar systems and geothermal resources. It also has been selected by a 15-state consortium to train community college and high school instructors about solar heating techniques and to formulate a national curriculum for trainers to use. The Salt Lake Tribune

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