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DOE Announces Funding for Training Programs for Professionals in Distributed Energy Resources

April 13, 2020
The funding will support training professionals, such as firefighters and first responders, who support the frontlines of communities that are rapidly adopting distributed energy resources, like solar, smart technology, EVs and more.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently 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 (EVs). The funding supports professionals 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 in the release. “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.”  

According to the press release, there are more than 115 million homes and 5.5 million commercial buildings across the U.S., and the market for smart and connected devices in buildings is growing by +20% annually. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates EVs, along with hybrid EVs, are projected to account for 7.5% of new light vehicle sales by 2025. Demand for solar and storage, too, is rapidly growing. This funding will address the lack of access to up-to-date training and information for professionals who integrate these technologies into their communities' broader planning, safety and resilience efforts. 

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.  

Mandatory concept papers are due on May 5, 2020. Register to participate in an informational webinar on April 16 at 1 p.m. ET.

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