A growing need exists for energy storage systems that enable efficient energy management and resiliency. This growth is expanding the demand for qualified technicians to install and maintain battery energy storage systems. The Battery Energy Storage Systems Education and Training Initiative (BESS-ETI) is convening experts from the electrical engineering and energy storage industries to create a robust education and training program for electrical workers and technicians. The portable curriculum and interactive web-based learning exercises created by the project will enable the expansion of energy storage training at community colleges and electrical worker training programs. This project is contributing to the attraction of a diverse electrical workforce through the expansion of outreach education and training assets supporting teachers in the Philadelphia community. This project is also supporting the revitalization and expansion of domestic manufacturing by reducing barriers to the deployment of much needed battery technologies in the energy sector and includes a nucleus of manufacturing partners in Reading, Pennsylvania, which is a distressed economic region.
A key source of innovation and emphasis in the project is the advancement of blended learning methods that utilize immersive web-based interactive learning settings and a remote laboratory in which operation and monitoring of real energy storage systems and micro grids are made accessible to instructors across the nation. An important contribution of the project is the demonstration of how scalable and mastery-based active learning and remote laboratory tools can improve learning outcomes including safety procedures, measurement and verification, and systems diagnostics. The project will use quantitative and qualitative data to assess cognitive (knowledge and understanding) and affective (confidence) outcomes for students' pre- and post-exposure to the BESS-ETI curriculum. Internal and external evaluators will conduct formative evaluation towards continuous improvement of the BESS-ETI program and an external evaluator will conduct summative evaluation of project outcomes.