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Smart Grid Jobs

$100 million in Energy Department money to be matched by similar amount in private sector funds

1 min read

Earlier this month Energy Secretary Chu announced that DOE was making $100 million in grants to support job training for work in the smart grid, with another $95 million to come from participating educational institutions, utilities, and manufacturers. The various programs supported by the grants are expected to produce 30,000 new trainees for smart grid work.

The ordinarily excellent Katie Fehrenbacher of Earth2Tech comments that “demand response devices are [already] shedding peak power in homes and businesses,” as “millions of two-way communicating, digital smart meters have been deployed.” If such load shedding in fact is already happening I haven't heard about it.

Does somebody know something I don't know?

Separately, Secretary Chu announced a series of partnerships and initiatives with other countries in the Western Hemisphere under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas. Projects include efforts to advanced electricity interconnections in the Caribbean , and creation of at Energy Innovation Center at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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