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Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS)

University of Central Florida Microgrid Control Lab Shapes Tomorrow’s Energy Professionals

People + Technology

Powered by the brightest students, FPL equipment & GE Digital ADMS software


Facility simulates a modern grid control room

Critical Issues

Focuses on grid stability and reliability



Florida Power & Light and University of Central Florida


Electric Utilities

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Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS)

The energy landscape will transform more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 100. To be ready for tomorrow, investments in hands-on STEM education must be made today. Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) and GE Digital have joined forces to power a new state-of-the-art research lab at the University of Central Florida (UCF).


The microgrid lab will serve as a research facility and control room for engineering faculty and students. It features control center equipment donated by FPL and GE Digital’s Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS) software that students will use to simulate and test real-life grid control operations, including finding ways to optimize and keep the grid of the future secure.

“This new facility is exactly the kind of strategic partnership that makes UCF a premiere choice for students with future-focused career goals. GE Digital and FPL have been both philanthropic investors and design collaborators in this lab, ensuring our students in this field will be industry-ready on day one of their careers,” UCF President Alexander Cartwright said.

It’s a win-win. Our students get a leading education in a lab environment, and both companies open up a pipeline of incredible talent for their workforce.

Alexander Cartwright - President, University of Central Florida

UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science offers undergraduate and graduate programs in renewable, sustainable, and resilient energy systems. UCF researchers across multiple disciplines are working to develop sustainable and resilient energy systems and storage.


Real-world Opportunities

Advancing the Next Generation Energy Workforce


The microgrid lab focuses on safe, reliable, efficient, and secure operation of large-scale distribution networks with extremely high penetration of renewables, a growing area in the energy industry. Collaborating with industry and utility partners, UCF offers students real-world opportunities as they prepare to go into careers that are shaping the future.


“We are excited to bring this innovative research space to UCF engineering students,” said Ed De Varona, FPL’s Vice President of Transmission & Substation.


The lab is a terrific training ground for rising engineers to work directly with the latest technologies and help refine and innovate the way energy is transmitted and distributed across the grid now and in the future.

Ed De Varona - Vice President of Transmission & Substation, Florida Power & Light

Every day, management of the grid becomes more challenging and complex. The distribution network is becoming progressively dynamic, and the volume of data that utilities need to understand and integrate continues to grow. Outage response is also critical to energy consumers, and as part of the lab experience, students will be able to simulate faults and storms and go through the process of locating problems and restoring power.


“The Microgrid Control Lab provides unprecedented access to a modern grid control center that enables some of the brightest young minds in the country to collaborate, learn and help reimagine the energy grid of tomorrow,” said Jim Walsh, General Manager of GE Digital’s Grid Software business. “As renewable energy sources, like solar, continue to expand and evolve, the technology behind the grid has to keep up."

It is critical that electrical and computer engineering talent have real-life experiences with the hardware and software that underpins the modern grid helping utilities securely deliver reliable clean energy.

Jim Walsh - General Manager, Grid Software, GE Digital

GE Digital has also launched a new internship program that will offer UCF students an intensive experience in the utilities and power sectors.  Students will develop analytical and software development skills using emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.


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