U.S. Nuclear Power Sector to Face Labor Shortage
The nuclear energy industry in the United States is about to face its biggest labor shortage ever. The post WWII baby boomers that changed the face of the world’s energy sector with the widespread installation of nuclear power plants are now facing retirement. The only problem is, there’s not enough qualified people to take their place when they do.
39 percent of the U.S. nuclear sector’s workforce will be eligible for retirement by 2016 according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington D.C.-based trade group. That’s roughly 25,000 jobs that will need to be filled within the next four years. However, in 2009 (the most recent year with available data), U.S. universities awarded only 715 graduate and undergraduate degrees related to nuclear energy. What’s more, that doesn’t account for the decades of experience garnered by the retiring employees that incoming graduates won’t have.
According to the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, the number of academic institutions offering degrees in nuclear energy shrank from 77 in 1975 to 32 in 2010. The number of Bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2001 fell to 120 from 863 in 1978.
The reason for the lack of interest in the nuclear sector should be obvious. Ever since the Three Mile Island core meltdown in the U.S. in 1979, and the Chernobyl disaster a decade later, university students have shied away from the field that was once hailed as the science of tomorrow. For all intents and purposes, nuclear energy still holds untold promise in securing the world’s energy needs. However, humankind is still in its infancy as far as understanding the properties of energy at the subatomic level, and the eminent dangers seem to be weighing on the minds of students.
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The recent catastrophe in Japan only added fuel to that fire, with students entering college fearful of choosing a career with the potential to cause harm to the masses, even if they do not fully understand how many lives are saved with the advent of cheap electricity.
Hopefully coming generations will embrace nuclear power not for its marred past, but for its promising future. Researchers have advanced nuclear energy to the point where new reactors produce minimal radioactive waste and have far extended lifelines compared to their aging predecessors. Plus, there are exciting revelations being made into nuclear fusion reactors, which can exponentially increase nuclear capacity and almost eliminate radioactive waste as a byproduct. Nonetheless, U.S. nuclear energy companies are going to need to work fast to fill the empty desks facing the sector in coming years, and what’s more likely than not is further outsourcing of American jobs.
Awesense launches digital clean energy marketplace
Awesense has launched what it claims is the only energy-focused repository of solutions built to drive the industry's decarbonization agenda.
The Awesense Marketplace aims to provide a common framework for companies to collaborate towards the future of clean energy and digital transformation, uniting applications, solutions and algorithms to solve energy and grid challenges.
Solutions listed on the marketplace cover a range of cases, and launch companies include Doosan GridTech, Kitu Systems, vadiMAP, LO3 Energy, ENGIN, Utilidata, Clir Renewables, ChargeLab, SensorLink, Exeri, Easy SmartGrid, and Athena Power.
“We are welcoming a new era in the decarbonization of energy systems,” said Mischa Steiner, CEO of Awesense. “The goal of achieving a clean energy future requires collaboration amongst key industry players in the utilities and energy sectors. Sharing resources through the Marketplace means that our customers and partners have a truly seamless approach as we work towards our common goal - ultimately, decarbonizing the world’s energy system.”
Utilities, consulting companies, and other organizations struggle to develop solutions that can be scaled across many jurisdictions due to complex data integration and the lack of a standard, open data model. Using the solutions offered throughout the Marketplace, organizations can rapidly accelerate their transition to a decentralized, decarbonized future and develop solutions that are scalable across industry. The platform will open up new revenue streams in areas such as:
Distributed energy resource integration and control
Electric vehicle charging
Demand response and smart-home management
Intelligent asset management
Advanced distribution system management
The new marketplace builds on Awesense's Digital Energy Platform, a digital twin based energy analytics platform that allows utilities to scale at the same pace as the rapidly changing technology landscape of the energy grid.
Together, the Open Energy Data Model and the Awesense Marketplace removes hurdles around data mapping and transformation, expedites data preparation and refining, and provides a common framework for companies to collaborate.
“The energy-specific data model allows utilities, technology companies, consulting firms, and other vendors to build solutions that can be easily integrated by other energy companies, to make a real impact on the industry as a whole, and develop new revenue streams for their organizations” said Steiner. “We’re looking forward to seeing the Awesense Marketplace grow as more partners committed to energy decarbonization join us.”
There are no simple solutions to putting the world on a sustainable path to net-zero emissions, according to the IEA. Reducing global CO2 emissions will require "a broad range of different technologies working across all sectors of the economy in various combinations and applications." it notes.
Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia formed
Amp Power Australia has established the Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia, a strategic portfolio of large scale integrated Solar PV, Wind and Battery Energy Storage assets located in South Australia. The hub also includes the siting of the Spencer Gulf Hydrogen Energy Ecoplex, forming part of the South Australian Government's Hydrogen Action Plan.
The portfolio, acquired from EPS, includes three large Solar PV projects totalling over 1.3 GW of generation, located at Robertstown (636 MW), Bungama (336MW) and Yoorndoo Ilga (388MW) with a total BESS capacity of up to 540MW across the portfolio.
Amp's expansion in Australia will include the implementation of Amp X, a proprietary digital energy platform 100% owned by Amp, which provides a diverse portfolio of disruptive and interoperable grid edge solutions, and includes a smart transformer, which enables real-time autonomous management and optimised dispatch of all forms of distributed generation and loads across the grid.
Palmetto recently opened its marketplace in Arizona, and is now serving 20 states across the country, claiming its proprietary technology, marketplace business model, and consumer mobile application "are all designed to democratize access to clean energy".