President Obama announced the Smart Grid Investment Grant Awards yesterday amid a tepid response from the media. So today to bolster interest and get people talking Energy Secretary Steven Chu held a forum where the implications of the grants and the expected job creation were discussed. With climate change and energy efficiency doing the rounds with increasing regularity, I realized these grants and their predicted results require some decoding. Especially if you are job hunting and willing to change fields to experiment with green jobs to get back into the workforce. Here in a nutshell is what this investment is predicted to foster:
- Create "tens of thousands of jobs" across the country. While rhetorically that sounds like a huge number, practically here are the fields this job creation will touch for the most part: Smart Meter Manufacturing Workers, Engineering Technicians, Equipment Installers, Cyber Security Specialists, Data Entry, Business and Power System Analysts and others.
- There will, however, also be demand for thousands of high-level professionals: Experts for design systems, energy advisors, smart technology experts and communication specialists to help bridge the gap between energy companies and consumers.
- While in federal funding, the figure stands at $3.4 billion, this is expected to leverage as much as $4.7 billion in private investment. More investment will mean a bigger workforce and more demand for expertise.
- With more than one million in-home displays, 170,000 smart thermostats, 175,000 load control devices and 200,000 smart transformers to be installed, geographically, these thousands of jobs will not only be regional but also nationwide with smart grids being targeted at almost all states.
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