This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 23, 2009

DOE Announces $144 Million in Recovery Act Funding for the Smart Grid

DOE announced more than $144 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds on September 21 for the electric power sector, including a $100 million solicitation for smart grid workforce training programs, plus $44 million in awards to state public utility commissions. The workforce 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 training will follow a two-pronged approach. First, $35-40 million is tabbed 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 smart grid to enable clean energy technologies. This funding will be open to a range of applicants, including utilities, colleges and universities, trade schools, and labor organizations. Secondly, $60-65 million will be spent to conduct workforce training programs for new hires and retraining programs for electric utility workers and electrical equipment manufacturers to further their knowledge of smart grid technologies and how to implement those technologies.

Also, state public utility commissions (PUCs), which regulate and oversee electricity projects in their states, will receive more than $44.2 million in Recovery Act funds 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. Awardees include the PUCs in every state except Massachusetts and Nebraska. See the DOE press release, the solicitation for workforce training, and the full list of grantees (PDF 68 KB). Download Adobe Reader.