Obama's Big Smart Grid Stimulus: $3.4 Billion Going to 100 Projects


Carol Browner,Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, with President Obama
18 Million New Smart Meters
ShareThe sweet stimulus bonanza isn't over. Today the Obama administration has announced 100 grants to smart grid projects across the U.S. (25 big projects, 75 smaller ones). In total, about $3.4 billion dollars will be allocated, and when combined with funds from utility customers, this should add up to an investment of about $8 billion into grid modernization. "We have a very antiquated system that we need to upgrade," said Carol Browner, energy coordinator for the Obama administration.
Image: U.S. Department of Energy

One of the most important things that will come out of this new investment is not doubt the installation of more smart meters. About 18 million of those, in fact. Because they are electronic and can communicate with the grid, they can be used to implement variable electricity rates (aka time-of-use rates) to encourage people to shift demand from peaks to times when supply isn't so strained. One you have smart meters, you can also start using smart appliances that can automate most of the process of shifting electricity demand...

But that's not all of course. Other projects that got funded will work on improving the efficiency of transformers, electric substations, power lines, etc. But if you look at the list of projects, it's pretty obvious that the emphasis was put on smart meters. It's a logical first step, since most of the demand-reduction schemes will require them to work.

For more details, you can see lists of the smart grid projects by category (pdf), by state (pdf), and a map of the whole country (pdf).

Via Reuters, WSJ
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Tags: Energy | Energy Efficiency