Posted by: seedfoundation | April 28, 2010

Vegas Baby!!

Do you remember all that big talk coming from Washington, you know, the stuff about solving the nation’s energy problems and allocating money to upgrade the transmission infrastructure because it’s over 40,000 years old?  Yeah, me too.  And I also remember getting excited for about a nanosecond until I realized that even seemingly visionary and clever politicians tend to blow burning tax dollar smoke up our crevasses.

Well, I stand down, and corrected.  My lingering cynicism for national politics has taken a trip to Jamaica to BLAZE DA FIRE! for a weekend.  Why ask you?  Because OIT just hit the jackpot.  That’s right, the Department of Energy, under the guidance of Steven Chu, recently awarded OIT a $ 2.5 million grant.  Much of it will go to OIT Portland to hire on more faculty members, upgrade equipment and develop the senior level power systems sequence.  The power systems sequence will include classes like power system modeling and analysis, distributed power systems, power conditioning, and utility-focused energy storage.

We can all thank Dr. Bass and his grant writing skills.

Besides the blah blah educational stuff, OIT Portland is also getting important things like a pimped out Caddy with dubs, a dozen pit bulls and a smorgasbord of other student accessories.  Some of these include grills, gold Hennessy cups, canes, pimp hats, and snakeskin shoes.  For myself, I’ve already pre-ordered a snow leopard fur coat to elevate my crunkness.

Word to incoming students: If all this sounds a little too ill and maybe not quite square enough for your taste, don’t worry there will still be old circuit boards to dig up in the school dumpster.

What I’m really trying to say is VEGAS BABY!!

Sorry….let me start again.  As fun as it would be to blow a bunch of money on roulette and blackjack with two rum and cokes in hand, the long-term benefit and payout would probably look a lot like the recent housing boom and bust.

A lot of engineering is about cost-benefit analysis and pay off periods.  It’s refreshing to see that kind of understanding in The White House.  The investment into OIT and other institutions relating to energy and infrastructure represent a cultural shift away from high risk, short term payouts, and toward a long term, durable future.  The growth in energy consumption in the U.S. and worldwide will not wane anytime soon.  It’s accelerating too.  Thus, it’s imperative that money is put back into national energy production and distribution.

As the REE program continues to grow and crank out the next generation of energy engineers and other related positions, the long term benefit of the DOE’s investment will materialize.  OIT Portland is lucky to play a role and be part of developing a sustainable future.  I’ll raise my pimp cup to that.

-E.B.

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