Speaking in Maryland Today…
…United States Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced a new round of Recovery Act funding, totaling close to $100 million, creating fifty-four centers in thirty-three states to train the workforce the country needs to build and maintain a “Smart Grid.”
“Building and operating smart grid infrastructure will put tens of thousands of Americans to work,” said Chu. “Today’s investment will help ensure that we have the workforce in place to meet this need. This is 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.”
What is a Smart Grid?
Here’s a thumbnail sketch from a Department of Energy (DOE) booklet:
The Smart Grid and the technologies embodied within it are an essential set of investments that will help bring our electric grid into the 21st century using megabytes of data to move megawatts of electricity more efficiently, reliably and affordably. In the process, our nation’s electric system will move from a centralized, producer controlled network to a less centralized, more consumer-interactive, more environmentally responsive model. Far more than “smart meters,” a fully functioning Smart Grid will feature sensors throughout the transmission and distribution grid to collect data, real-time two-way communications to move that data between utilities and consumers, and the computing power necessary to make that intelligence actionable and transactive. Indeed, only by bringing the tools, techniques and technologies that enabled the Internet to the utility and the electric grid is such a transformation possible.