The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $4.5 million in funding for training programs for professionals who interact with distributed energy resources, including solar energy systems, storage systems, “smart” building technologies, and electric vehicles. These professionals include those that lead the nation’s emergency response and resilience planning, including firefighters, first responders, and safety officials.
“These professionals are at the frontlines of a rapidly changing energy system,” said Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Assistant Secretary Daniel R Simmons. “Through this training program, DOE can help these professionals easily understand and manage distributed energy systems so that they can focus on keeping America safe.”
There are more than 115 million homes and 5.5 million commercial buildings across the United States, and the market for smart and connected devices in buildings is growing 20% annually. As estimated by the Energy Information Administration, electric vehicles, along with hybrid electric vehicles, are projected to account for 7.5% of new light vehicle sales by 2025. Demand for solar and storage systems is also growing rapidly.
As these technologies spread across the country, the professionals who integrate these technologies into their communities’ broader planning, safety, and resilience efforts often lack access to the most up-to-date training and information.
The Educational Materials for Professional Organizations Working on Efficiency and Renewable Energy Developments (EMPOWERED) funding program is a collaborative effort across EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), and Building Technologies Office (BTO). DOE expects to fund two to four awards between $1 million and $ 2.5 million each.
Projects in this funding opportunity will focus on developing, testing, and disseminating educational materials. In addition to developing new education materials, projects will also focus on working with existing training organizations in each of the targeted professional groups, to ensure that the right materials get to the right people in an effective way.