Tuesday, September 22, 2009

DoE Smart Grid Vision Presentation, $144 Million Funding

In his keynote speech to the GridWeek 2009 Conference this morning, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu detailed his vision for implementing the smart grid and modernizing America's electrical system: a stronger, smarter, more efficient electricity infrastructure that will encourage growth in renewable energy sources, empower consumers to reduce their energy use, and lay the foundation for sustained, long-term economic expansion.

Download Secretary Chu's Presentation: http://energy.gov/news2009/documents2009/Secretary_Chu_Grid_Week.pdf

During his remarks, Secretary Chu also announced more than $144
million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for
the electric power sector, including $44 million in awards to state
public utility commissions and $100 million in available funding for
smart grid workforce training programs.

"America cannot build a 21st Century energy economy with a mid-20th
Century electricity system. This is why the Obama Administration is
investing in projects that will lay the foundation for a modernized,
resilient electrical grid," said Secretary Chu. "By working with
industry leaders and the private sector, we can drive the evolution to
a clean, smart, national electricity system that will create jobs,
reduce energy use, expand renewable energy production, and cut carbon

$100 Million for Smart Grid Workforce Training
Secretary Chu also announced the availability of $100 million in
funding from the Recovery Act to support workforce training for the
electric power industry. This initiative will expand job creation and
career advancement opportunities associated with smart grid and
electricity transmission projects and will help establish training
programs for workers in the utility industry and electrical
manufacturing sectors who will play a key role in modernizing the
country's electrical grid.

The Funding Opportunity Announcement announced today will support two
primary workforce training strategies:
- $35 -$40 million to develop training programs, strategies and
curricula that will be used as models for how to train or retrain
workers in the electric power sector, with a focus on achieving a
national, clean energy smart grid. This funding will be open to a
range of applicants, including utilities, colleges and universities,
trade schools, and labor organizations.
- $60-$65 million to conduct workforce training programs for new hires
and retraining programs for electric utility workers and electrical
equipment manufacturers to further knowledge of smart grid
technologies and their implementation.

These programs will expand the United States' capability to
manufacture and install the electrical equipment and new technologies
needed to implement the smart grid, and help ensure that the U.S.
maintains its position as a global leader in innovation and
technological advancement.

$44 Million for State Public Utility Commissions
State public utility commissions (PUCs), which regulate and oversee
electricity projects in their states, will be receiving more than
$44.2 million in Recovery Act funding to hire new staff and retrain
existing employees to ensure they have the capacity to quickly and
effectively review proposed electricity projects. The funds will help
the individual state PUCs accelerate reviews of the large number of
electric utility requests that are expected under the Recovery Act.
State PUCs will be reviewing electric utility investments in projects
such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, carbon capture and
storage, transmission lines, energy storage, smart grid, demand
response equipment, and electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.

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