The electricity that lights our lights and makes our appliances work in the 21st century is a lot more complicated than it used to be. These days, the power is generated from a number of sources such as wind, solar, natural gas, coal, hydroelectricity and more. Students in SAIT's Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) program are learning how to manage this increasingly complex electrical system. And, thanks to a generous donation from AltaLink, they now have a powerful new learning tool- a power system simulator - the only one in a post-secondary institution in Canada.
The simulator - made possible through AltaLink's $760,000 donation - is comparable to the power control boards the company uses to transmit electricity throughout Alberta. It provides a unique learning experience for students, giving them an unprecedented career-ready experience.
"It's another first for SAIT," says Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO. "AltaLink is a tremendous partner who believes in action-based learning. Thanks to them, this generous gift will help ensure our students have relevant job experience that gives them a competitive advantage."
By modelling the management of electricity from a variety of energy sources students are able to simulate various forms of electrical transmission. Additionally, employing realistic and real-time scenarios, the simulator and supporting curriculum teaches students how to expertly deliver power to industrial, commercial and residential consumers in a way that's safe and cost effective.
"We already have some of the best learning technology here at SAIT," says Braden Hanna, a second year EET student and president of their student club. "And I know the new simulator will make our program even better."
"We couldn't be more pleased to be able to support SAIT's students and prepare them for a career in the electrical industry," said Scott Thon, President and CEO of AltaLink. "As our province shifts to a greener future, technology such as the AltaLink power system simulator will help us understand how the grid can enable our transition to renewables and position our province as a leader in the energy sector."
The AltaLink simulator will be housed in SAIT's MacPhail School of Energy - the first school of energy in Canada and one of only a handful of energy schools in North America. The power system simulator is added to SAIT's array of high-tech, hands-on learning tools, which includes drilling, crane and health care patient simulators.