Chopra: Challenges, Openness all the Rage

The government’s increased use of challenges and competitions have created many things: innovation, openness, an entrepreneurial spirit and … envy?

Yes, envy.

Upon seeing the results of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Apps for the Environment Challenge and the success of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s open data push, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu wanted some of those results for himself.

Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra said at EPA’s Apps for the Environment forum on Tuesday honoring the challenge winners that DOE is creating the SmartGrid Data Access Challenge that includes a $2 million top prize.


The goal is to help DOE create applications on energy use from a new project where home energy data is being gathered at a higher-rate than ever before.

The department is identifying a dozen communities nationwide with the infrastructure and policies in place that have energy meters capable of broadcasting energy usage data at regular increments (some as low as a few seconds). The goal is to leverage that data and deliver it to consumers in a way that helps them lower energy costs and helps the environment in the process.

Chopra told the winners of Apps for the Environment Challenge “you are part of a quiet revolution that will strengthen our democratic spirit and ensure our entrepreneurial energy will make products and services that address our country’s biggest issues.”

The five winners of the EPA Apps for Environment challenge are:


All contestants will retain intellectual property rights over their submissions, though winners agree that their submissions will be available on the EPA website for free use and download by the public for a period of one year, the agency said.

Below are three FedScoopTV videos from the event.

Chopra talks about open government and the recent announcement of the Veterans Hiring Tool.

EPA CIO Malcolm Jackson thanks the winners:


Nancy Sutley, U.S. Council on Environmental Quality Chair, Executive Office of the President, outlines some of the administration’s efforts in environmental protection:

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