Silver Spring Networks has launched A Smart Energy Future, one of the first global educational programs designed to increase the general public’s understanding of smart energy and help prepare the next generation for the benefits of the smart grid.

The new A Smart Energy Future curriculum, which is available free to educators, is designed to help teachers, students, their families and their communities understand how the smart grid can address the nation’s energy challenges. It also enables students to see how the smart grid may present career and professional opportunities in a fast growing, technological industry and be on the cutting edge of a worldwide energy transformation. The smart grid consists of digital technology that allows utility companies to more intelligently connect to consumers and devices on the electrical grid, saving money and lessening the environmental impact of the energy we use.

Among the schools that have been selected for the initial rollout of the curriculum are Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, CA; Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove, CA; Granville Middle School in Granville, OH; and Jonathan Alder High School in Plain City, OH.

“Just as the Internet revolutionized how we interact with information over the last 20 years, we expect to see a similar revolution in the energy industry in the next 20 years with the digital technology upgrade of the electric grid,” said Scott Lang, Chairman, President and CEO of Silver Spring Networks. “By making this unique curriculum available to schools across the country, we want the next generation to be prepared to harness the tremendous benefits of the smart grid, understand its role in improving the environment and energy usage, and know how this new technology can impact their personal lives and professional careers.”

The curriculum was developed by Silver Spring Networks and Education Development Center, an international, non-profit organization that focuses on education and health. It includes two units featuring interactive assignments and community-facing projects designed to encourage students to learn about the benefits of the smart grid and engage them in career exploration activities relating to the green tech industry:

  • Unit 1—Students learn about the smart grid and develop materials that will educate others in their community about the smart grid concept and its potential benefits.
  • Unit 2—Students engage in career exploration and create job profiles for the smart grid industry.

“Northern California is at the center of an important discussion about the smart grid and how it will benefit consumers,” said Kevin Dasso, senior director, Smart Grid, of Pacific, Gas & Electric. “Educational tools and programs can help our communities better understand how the smart grid can provide greater control over energy consumption and help lower energy bills.”

An Advisory Committee provided guidance for the A Smart Energy Future curriculum. Members include:

  • Michael Benjamin, Executive Director, Family, Careers and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)
  • Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, Board Chair, National Religious Partnership for the Environment
  • Richard Grimsley, Vice President for Programs, Project Lead The Way, Inc.
  • Dr. Emir Jose Macari, Dean of Engineering and Computer Science, California State University, Sacramento
  • Dr. Deirdre Snyder, Director of Green Academy, Oakland Tech High School (Oakland, CA)
  • Marzia Zafar, Program Supervisor, California Public Utilities Commission