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January 21, 2015

Attention mid-career workers and graduate students in the Portland-metro area: there is still time to register for an engaging course series called Designing the Smart Grid for Sustainable Communities.  

This unique two-term course series is offered once every two years. It examines a set of emerging concepts, technologies, applications and business models, and the complex trade-off decisions related to transforming the nation’s century-old, centralized power grid into a climate and renewable energy-friendly “Smart Grid.”

For the past 20 years, I have been teaching graduate courses on clean energy and climate policy at the Mark Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University.  I am particularly honored to continue offering this smart grid series and collectively, our team has found great success in helping advance the knowledge based and practical application of smart grid.

I could continue bragging but I'll let some of our past students do it for me.


  • Winter Term: Wednesday evenings, January 14-March 18, 6:40-9:40 pm
  • Spring Term: Wednesday evenings, April 1-June 10, 6:40-9:40 pm

Registration for Winter Term for professional development students will be accepted through January 27; all class sessions will be recorded and placed in the course archives so you can steam any session you miss on your computer at your convenience.


Portland State University’s Center for Public Service is pleased to announce registration is now open for Designing the Smart Grid for Sustainable Communities, Version 5.0. This two term course series is designed to serve both graduate students from a variety of programs interested in receiving 4 graduate credits from PSU‘s College of Urban and Pubic Affairs, and mid-career professionals interested in advancing their careers and receiving special Certificates of Completion from PSU’s Center for Public Service. Both audiences benefit from each other’s presence in class.  Registration through the Professional Development track will remain open through January 23. Recordings of all class sessions will be available for steaming from our course archives

The Winter Term course is called The Smart Grid and Sustainable Communities: Making the Connections and the Spring Term course is called Making the Smart Grid Work in the Real World. Winter Term focuses on providing students the basics to engage with the issues of technology, empowered energy end-users, and sustainable communities and exposing them to working collaboratively in multidisciplinary student teams. Spring Term deepens students’ knowledge base with regular class sessions and presentations, but, for those who are interested, it also provides rich opportunities to apply this knowledge to “real world” projects that identify and test how to progress toward empowered energy end-users and sustainable communities. Both terms are treated much a like a graduate seminar in which students and seven-person multidisciplinary faculty team work closely together.  It is strongly recommended that students take both courses in sequence since the Spring term class builds on the Winter term one.  However, sequencing is not required and the course faculty is willing work with students who begin in the Spring to help them catch up.

We have already identified two potential projects for the Spring term that are about as “real world” as one can get.  The first involves helping the Northwest Power and Conservation Council staff develop relevant information for the sections of their draft Seventh Power Plan that related to the smart grid, energy edge, demand response, distributed generation, and energy storage.  The second is helping Smart Grid Northwest, Oregon BEST, and other partners develop what is currently being called the “policy pillar” of the proposed Pacific Northwest Transactive Energy Initiative. Depending on the class composition, expertise, and interest we may work on some of the other pillars as well.  The scope of both of these projects is Northwest region-wide to be attractive to Northwest students and mid-career professionals who are not based in the Portland metro area and could participate through one of the three distance learning options. We also expect to approach some of our local partners and friends, such as Portland General Electric, Intel, BPA, and the Portland Convention Center to see if they would like us to partner with them on a specific project during Spring Term.

Past editions of this course series have been heralded by all four governors and many members of Congress from the four Northwest states, the Secretary of Energy, and other energy educators and experts for its path-breaking features. For more information see the Course Fact Sheet.

For more information on:

  • The seven members of the exceptional course faculty team, click here. Information on the course’s additional guest presenters and advisory team members is included in the Course Fact Sheet.
  • Distance Learning options that allow graduate students and mid-career professionals anywhere in the world to participate, click here.
  • The preliminary course plan for Winter Term and previous course syllabi, click here.
  • Registration information for both the Graduate Student Track and the Professional Development Track, click here.
  • Testimonials from students who participated in earlier versions of this course series, click here.
  • Course books and other readings, click here.
  • The course origins, approach, value and results, plans for the 2015 edition of the course, examples of guest presenters and advisory team members, and related topics, click here.

If you have additional questions, please contact me: Jeff Hammarlund, Lead Faculty and Program Manager: 503-249-0240 or; or Dan Trifone, Program Coordinator: 503-725-5114 or

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Author Bio

Jeff Hammarlund

Manager, New Energy Economy Initiatives and Lead Faculty, Designing the Smart Grid for Sustainable Communities , Climate Solutions

Jeff Hammarlund is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Portland State University's Mark Hatfield School of Government, a Senior Research Fellow at PSU's Executive Leadership Institute, and the president of Northwest Energy and Environmental Strategies, a small consulting firm. A former guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, Professor Hammarlund is co-author of The Political Economy of Energy Policy and has written numerous other academic and professional publications on energy and environmental policy and planning. He teaches graduate courses on energy, environmental and natural resource policy. During the past two years, his courses have included a new team-taught interdisciplinary course for graduate students and mid-career professionals called Planning the Smart Grid for Sustainable Communities.

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