Enel Distribuzione and the Polytechnic University of Milan in partnership for smart grids

Milan, August 20th, 2014 - Enel Distribuzione and the Polytechnic University of Milan have signed an agreement to launch a post-graduate degree course in electrical engineering, focusing on smart grids.

The agreement between the high-profile Milan university and the multinational power company is part of a more wide-ranging scientific partnership covering the core themes of interest to the energy world, with a particular focus on the technologies best able to meet both the new demands placed on today’s electricity grids and also those of customers, taking into account the spread of new uses for electricity such as mobility and also given the increasing spread of distributed generation from renewable sources. The aim is to provide specialist training programmes to supplement the more classical courses for electrical engineers.

As Livio Gallo, Director of Enel’s Global Infrastructure and Networks Division explained: “The advent of information and communications technologies, the need for constant improvement in the service delivered to citizens, the demand for ever more efficient energy use, the growing up-take of renewable sources and new uses for electricity are all factors driving the transformation of the energy infrastructure in industrialised nations. This is a process that profoundly affects the way electricity grids are designed and function, since they are now called upon to meet multiple requirements in terms of their flexibility, cost-saving potential and reliability, making it possible to fully exploit the benefits of market liberalisation”.

“The Polytechnic University of Milan is a vast repository of skills and knowledge, allowing it to adopt an inter-disciplinary approach to providing an adequate response to the issues surrounding today’s complex energy needs.” added Giovanni Azzone, Rector of the university: “Working with a major partner like Enel means we can offer our students a course of study entirely devoted to smart grids which represent the future for this strategic sector”.

Enel Distribuzione is developing new methods for the design and construction of ever smarter electricity grids which are capable of integrating and managing flows of energy that vary in terms of their quantity, quality and origin and which are more programmable, in a more flexible manner than was previously possible. Generating electricity from renewable sources requires appropriate grid connections, organisational processes and instrumentation able to control and manage their intermittent nature.

Smart grid development requires investing in projects, infrastructure and assets but also investing in training and consolidating the skills and knowledge of the university population. These actions contribute to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and the ability to meet the needs of the corporate energy producers.

The degree course incorporating the expertise of Enel Distribuzione will be launched in the 2014/2015 academic year. It will be taught in English and limited to just 25 students.

The first year of the course will include the teaching of new material focusing on the relevant issues inherent to electricity distribution grids, which are faced with the challenges of distributed generation. The second year will be centred on distribution companies processes.

This course will undoubtedly be an innovative learning experience, aimed at training professionals capable of managing the complex energy cycle, adopting an integrated multi-disciplinary approach and taking into account the ever more international scenario in which companies such as Enel Distribuzione are now operating.

The progress of the course will be monitored by an Operating Committee consisting of three Polytechnic staff members and two from Enel Distribuzione in a advisory and coordinating role.

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