From the College of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Originally published 5/27/2015.
Ameren Corporation recently finished moving into its new Innovation Center at the Research Park at the University of Illinois.
Alumnus Owen Doyle (BSEE ’02) is heading the new space, where he will coordinate Ameren research projects with interns from the University of Illinois.
“We’re at a really important time in the electric utility industry, as we start transitioning to smart grid technologies,” Doyle said. “A lot of the research we’ll be doing will focus on data analytics, and gathering as much information about the grid as possible, then analyzing that information to improve reliability, grid security, and customer satisfaction.”
The Innovation Center will hire 10 to 12 interns for each semester, and hopes that the center will function at least in part as a way for highly successful interns to have a future at Ameren.
“That’s one of the great benefits being here – we can create a pipeline to future employment at Ameren if the intern is a great fit,” Doyle said. “We have a portion of our workforce that’s going to be retiring soon, and we will need to find a way to transfer their knowledge base to the next generation of employees. This is the perfect way to bring new people in and show them the ropes.”
Doyle noted that the interns are coming in at a transformative moment in the power industry: the grid itself is changing, and the needs and skills required of its engineers are changing as well.
“It’s important to improve and modernize the grid and that requires technical expertise and for us to embrace innovation,” Doyle said. “A great upshot of this new center is getting new ideas into what’s been a historically slow-changing field.”