Researchers at the University at Albany and the University of Connecticut are leading a new weather and climate facility to research and create solutions for safeguarding the energy industry.
The center, called the Center for Weather Innovation and Smart Energy and Resilience (WISER), is intended to help corporations and government partners connect with university researchers in order to lead relevant research, create innovative technology, and develop a workforce able to take on the rapidly changing energy sector. WISER’s research will focus mainly on renewable energy, power outage management, electrical grid resilience caused by extreme weather, and how climate change impacts and will continue to influence power producers and distributors.
The new center will be backed by a $750,000 grant for each university from the National Science Foundation through its Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC). A five-year $3.7 million industry partnership membership fee from the 14 partners of the WISER program, including IBM and Eversource, will also support the project.
“We envision WISER to become a leading energy industry-academia partnership, advancing research and cutting-edge technologies to continually improve power grid efficiency and reliability in the face of a changing climate and transition to clean energy,” said Emmanouil Anagnostou, a board of trustees distinguished professor and eversource energy endowed chair in environmental engineering at UConn.
Additional Research Efforts Support the Energy Industry
This is not the first time these two universities have taken on research on the relationship between weather, climate change, and the energy industry.
In 2021, New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric announced plans to partner with both institutions to create an outage prediction system for storm preparedness and utility response efforts. A partnership between UAlbany and IBM, made in 2022, supports research on climate impacts on water, transportation, and energy systems in the state of New York. Both universities have also been involved in solar development for more than a decade.
Such collaboration between higher education institutions and energy industry leaders supports a comprehensive understanding of the constantly changing climate and sustainability impacts.
“The IUCRC program was created by the NSF to generate new and innovative research through engagement between academic researchers, government agencies, and industry partners,” said Chris Thorncroft, director of UAlbany’s Atmospheric Sciences Research Center. “WISER will fulfill this mission by advancing research and cutting-edge technologies to improve energy industry efficiency and reliability in the face of a rapidly changing climate and global transition to clean energy sources.”