This week, the Department of Energy is highlighting the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to the future of America’s workforce. The department devoted about $100 million to smart grid workforce development as a part of the 2009 economic stimulus.
Beyond promoting more sustainable energy consumption in the United States, smart grid technologies provide the opportunity for innovators to develop products and create jobs for American workers. An education agenda that prepares students for a high technology future is a critical component for continued economic growth and a sustainable energy infrastructure.
Startups are already playing a role in smart grid development and deployment. The Energy Department’s green button initiative gives 15 million households access to their energy consumption data by securing commitments from utility companies including ComEd, Pepco and PG&E to use common standards allowing for the development of web and smartphone applications.
The department has also launched the “apps for energy” challenge offering $100,000 prize to software developers that create an application that allows consumers to make the most of the green button data.