Sandra Metsis & Tõnis Vare
ETL is a sector association with the mission to contribute to the development and competitiveness of the electricity industry, by representing the common interests of the industry in Estonia and Europe. At SMAGRINET, we were mainly represented by the Managing Director Tõnis Vare - with his vision, knowledge, contacts - and Project Manager Sandra Metsis - with her skillful managing of the everyday organisation.
Our main task in SMAGRINET was to support the involvement of the electricity industry and the existing smart grid competence from the sector and to bring international student mobility at enterprises to life.
The mobility programme was complimentary to SMAGRINET modules taught in all the partner universities, and tightened the collaboration between academia and industry. We detected the urgent need for new talent with upgraded knowledge from the first meetings at companies, and saw students eager to gain valuable international experience. But good things do not happen without hard work, and SMAGRINET grew us all by taking place in exceptionally challenging times.
The mobility was particularly affected by the global pandemic situation. The clear value of international mobility is the actual physical experience abroad, which cannot be replaced fully by any online means. At least, not yet! The energy sector, consisting largely of vital service providers, was extremely cautious until the very last minute. This meant short time windows, multiple contingency plans, limited groups, repetitive reorganizations, and creative hybrid solutions.
On a positive note, we learned a lot and managed to pull off a very versatile Mobility Programme. More than 60 students got a behind-the-scenes view of the challenges and inspiring solutions of industry players. International contacts were made, and experience that enriched the knowledge base of future engineers was created.
At the same time, ETL also got a great overview of the companies’ interest in the competence of the smart grid and which R&D developments are actually going on in the sector. Decarbonisation is based on electrification, which is the most acceptable way for society to achieve climate neutrality, and the smart grid and digitalisation offer the best opportunity to do so.
The Smagrinet project provided an opportunity to delve deeper into the topic of the smart grid and gain new qualitative knowledge in the field. The project also created a strong cooperation network and created an informative database of companies in the electricity industry who are the true development engines.
The future is electric and it is happening in a smart grid!