The electric power engineering centre's success: Past, present, and future
The Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre) at the University of Canterbury was established in 2002 to carry out the purpose of the Power Engineering Excellence Trust (PEET); to promote and support the education of power engineers and the study of power engineering as a field of excellence in New Zealand. Since then it has become active in a number of power engineering related research areas. This paper looks at the success of the EPECentre in growing the number of students enrolling in power engineer related courses, and ultimately graduating to become electric power engineers. It concludes that there has been a near doubling in the number of students undertaking electric power engineering as a speciality discipline in their fourth year of the engineering honours degree since 2002. However, that trend has reversed in 2011, highlighting the importance of continued support of PEET and the EPECentre by the power industry. Moreover, the paper also concludes that global shortages of electric power engineer graduates, combined with large infrastructure projects locally and globally, will put pressure on New Zealand for its graduates, as well as on engineering salaries. This emphasises the need for support of PEET and the EPECentre now, more than ever. The success factors for such university-industry collaborations are reviewed, and a plan discussed to re-engage with member organisations, past and present. In addition, a plan for ways in which to enhance and broaden EPE student education is touched on, which will benefit from an increase in the research focus of the EPECentre on contemporary and future areas of relevance to the industry.