New Zealand’s Centre for Excellence in Power: The Electric Power Engineering Centre, Invited paper
Since the launch of the Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre or EPEC) in June 2002, with the support of New Zealand’s electric power industry via the Power Engineering Excellence Trust (PEET), future prospects for power engineering in New Zealand are looking extremely positive. The EPECentre has been involved in facilitating and implementing a host of programmes, activities, and initiatives, including various field trips, onsite lectures, visiting lecturer programmes, premium scholarships, conferences, conventions, expos, market research, and work placement/graduate recruitment in the power industry. These have resulted in increased student enrolments in power courses in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Canterbury (UC) for four consecutive years (2003-2006), since the inception of EPEC. There are now about twice as many students enrolled in power courses as compared to 2002, i.e. from as little as 14 students in 2002, to 34 in 2006 – an increase of over 140% in 4 years. Consequently, this has led to a renewed interest in power engineering research and innovation in New Zealand. The EPECentre has now become the focus point for this new directive, with the launch of New Zealand’s first electric power engineering research and development programme in April 2005. The EPECentre is now focused on the facilitation and implementation of collaborative industry-academia research and development (R and D), ‘a win-win for both academia and industry’, while continuing with its successful initiatives to boost the quantity and the quality of power engineering graduates in New Zealand.