US Dept. of Energy offers $100,000 for cool apps

DOE challenge will let developers exploit data from utilities across the US

DOE appzs for energy
If you have an idea for a cool mobile or PC application you could get a slice of a Department of Energy $100,000 application development challenge.

The DOE's "Apps for Energy" challenge wants software developers to build apps - for mobile phones, computers, tablets and other systems- that transform data from major utility companies into apps that can help businesses and consumers use less energy and save money.

More: 15 cool energy projects

The agency announced that major utility data from nine utilities can be used to develop the applications. The nine utilities include:  American Electric Power, serving 5.3 million customers in 11 states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia);  Austin Energy, serving 400,000 customers in Texas; Baltimore Gas and Electric, serving 1.2 million customers in Maryland; CenterPoint Energy, serving 1.8 million households in Texas; Commonwealth Edison, serving 3.4 million households in Illinois;  NSTAR, serving 1.1 million households in Massachusetts; PECO, serving 1.4 million households in Pennsylvania; Reliant, serving 500,000 households in Texas and  Virginia Dominion Power, serving 2.4 million customers in Virginia and North Carolina.

Those utilities join others such as Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison, Oncor, Pepco Holdings Inc., Glendale Water and Power, and San Diego Gas & Electric already offering public information through the government's Green Button initiative which lets users access a utility's Web site, click a green button and get information about household energy use

A few facts about the "Apps for Energy" challenge:

  • Starting now, anyone with an app idea is invited to submit their ideas for apps to The best app ideas will be featured on and used to inspire developers who are participating in the competition.
  • On April 5, the Department will release the official rules and begin accepting submissions. Submissions can be any kind of software application, including apps for the web, personal computers, mobile devices, or any software broadly available to the public.
  • May 15 is the last day to submit an app design. Following the close of submissions, an internal review and public vote will take place.
  • Winners will be announced in late May and will receive cash prizes that in total equate to $100,000 and are sponsored by the Energy Department, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Itron Inc., and Gridwise Alliance.

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