In order to see through the installation of a U.S. smart grid, the Department of Energy has awarded $100 million in funds for smart grid workforce training and development. The grants will be leveraged by an additional $95 million in additional funding from universities, utilities and manufacturers.
The move comes against a backdrop of consumer dissatisfaction with smart meters, with the source being a lack of understanding about how businesses and homeowners can boost energy efficiency, reports the New York Times.
The grants, which come under the Recovery Act, will be doled out to 54 separate programs.
One recipient is Pepco Holdings, which will use $4.4 million to accelerate implementation of its smart grid programs, including whatever results from the more than $160 million in Smart Grid Investment Grants it has been awarded thus far, according to a press release.
Joseph Rigby, Chairman, President and CEO of Pepco, said the funds will be used to train staff about interval billing and dynamic pricing, emerging renewable technologies and energy efficiency opportunities.
National Grid also is getting $2.2 million in training grants, reports Boston.com.
National Grid will put the funds toward an overall $4.4 million smart grid training program for up to 4,900 utility workers.
Ameren is getting $3.5 million for purposes of training 4,000 workers in advanced data management, mapping and electric distribution systems, reports St. Louis Today.
The GridWise Alliance stated that the smart grid training programs “will equip our utility workforce with training building blocks and best practices for additional skills in information and communication technologies, making those key knowledge connections to integrate digital devices into the mechanical electric grid.”
The GridWise Alliance has an Education and Workforce Work Group that has been working on such issues, and says it will cooperate with grant recipients.
View the full list of program recipients here.