DOE Allots Funds to Train Emergency Response, Building Professionals


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has allotted $4.5 million in funding to 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 who lead the nation’s emergency response and resilience planning, such as firefighters, first responders and safety officials.

“These professionals are at the frontlines of a rapidly changing energy system,” says Daniel R. Simmons, assistant secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). 

“Through this training program, the DOE can help these professionals easily understand and manage distributed energy systems so that they can focus on keeping the U.S. safe,” he adds.

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 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. The 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.  

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

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