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Strategic innovations director appointed at Penn State’s GridSTAR Center

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September 16, 2013 - PHILADELPHIA -- Penn State’s GridSTAR Center will partner with Scitor Corp. on smart grid education and research at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard (The Navy Yard). As a part of this collaboration, Erfan Ibrahim has been appointed to the position of strategic innovations director for the GridSTAR Center.

“Dr. Ibrahim brings a unique set of competencies to the GridSTAR Center,” said David Riley, Penn State’s principal investigator of the $10 million Department of Energy grant used to launch the project. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with him and his colleagues at Scitor Corp. to advance the smart grid education, research and collaboration at The Navy Yard.”

“Scitor is delighted and proud to be supporting this important Penn State University Smart Grid education and research program,” said Joe Wysocki, director of market development for Scitor Corp. “The workforce training and technology demonstrations to be conducted in this activity will have beneficial outcomes far into the future and far beyond The Navy Yard.”

The GridSTAR Center is taking an innovative approach to address the need to develop a “smarter” electrical grid by developing a Smart Grid Experience Center intended for demonstration and experimentation. Developed at various scales of research, including residential, commercial and incorporating community energy systems strategies, the systems on display will each include renewable energy generation, energy storage and grid interactivity. The Experience Center is connected to the electric distribution network at The Navy Yard as part of an unregulated grid managed by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC).

The Navy Yard is one of the largest economic development success stories resulting from the federal base realignment program (BRAC) instituted in the 1990s. Today, The Navy Yard is a vibrant commercial, research and education community that includes more than 130 organizations with more than 10,000 employees. “We share Penn State’s excitement that Scitor Corp. has agreed to invest considerable resources to the GridSTAR Center, in support of The Navy Yard’s overall energy innovation projects and programs” commented PIDC’s Will Agate, senior vice president for Navy Yard Management and Development. Through a close partnership with the PIDC, the GridStar Center can provide maximum technology testing flexibility in a "real life" environment to serve the research, development and demonstration needs of industry stakeholders in smart grid.

“By combining actual operational smart grid systems with education and training programs we will be able to address both the technical and education challenges that need to be overcome in the development of a smart grid,” explained Riley.

Reliable Controls Previously, Ibrahim played an important role in the Smart Grid Industry by managing the smart metering and cybersecurity research and development portfolio for electric utilities at the Electric Power Research Institute between 2008 and 2011. While in that role, he built industry consensus on smart grid standards during the first phase of the National Institute of Standards & Technology Smart Grid Interoperability Roadmap project during 2009 and led the DOE-funded National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization Resources (NESCOR) project between 2010 and 2011. Since January 2012, Ibrahim has been independently moderating a monthly Smart Grid Educational Series seminar and webinar that brings world class leaders in smart grid, energy efficiency and clean tech to discuss the technical, business process and policy issues with a diverse audience from more than 10 countries. Ibrahim is also a frequent speaker at Smart Grid conferences, seminars and workshops.

"GridSTAR will provide the industry with a cost-effective testing and demonstration site for Smart Grid technologies and business processes before commercial deployment to reduce financial risk," said Ibrahim. "This will be a key asset to enable the migration of the GridSTAR Center from public- to private-sector funding over the next year."

Scitor and Ibrahim will play key roles in the industry outreach for GridSTAR to enable this migration.

In addition to the availability of the Smart Grid Experience Center for demonstration, the facilities will also play valuable roles in new education and training programs including hands-on professional workshops and online courses.

More information about the GridSTAR Professional Workshop Series and education programs can be found at


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