Smart Grid Education gets $100 Million from DOE to Stimulate Smart Grid Jobs
To stimulate the integration of Smart Grid technology, DOE announced yesterday the Open Government Plan to provide over $100 million in funds to educational programs to train utility professionals and manufacturers of related equipment about modernization techniques. Utility companies have been notoriously slow to institute Smart Grid systems because the workforce has been reluctant to embrace new methods.
The DOE grants are being awarded to companies like Florida Power and Light, who will receive $5 million to engage their local educational institutions in Smart Grid training. Duke Energy will use its $3.5 million to train utility workers on how to deal with consumer reactions to Smart Grid products.
Since a class-action lawsuit has been filed by Bakersfield, CA residents against PG&E, protesting the rate hike they have experienced since implementing their Smart Grid service, these training programs are considered crucial to meeting the challenges of implementing wide spread industry modifications. DOE Secretary Steven Chu praised the program as "... a great opportunity for workers to upgrade their skills and earn more, or for laid off workers from other industries to start fresh in a new and growing field.”