Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama Administration Announces $3.4 Billion in Smart Grid Stimulus Awards

The Obama Administration this morning announced that 100 projects ( PDF) will receive $3.4 billion in federal smart grid investment grants made available by the Department of Energy as part of the economic stimulus package passed earlier this year. The $3.4 billion will be matched by $4.7 billion in private spending, raising the total amount of smart grid spending spurred by the grant program to $8.1 billion.

Due to the overwhelming response to the first funding authorization announcement issued by DOE this summer, this single round of funding replaces the previous plan to issue the grants in two or more rounds. In addition to the $3.4 billion in matching investment grants, the stimulus package also provided for smart grid demonstration project funding and loan incentives to federal power organizations.

The funding will flow to projects in 49 states (see
PDF of state-by-state awards and PDF map), with DOE planning to disburse the funds within the next 60 days. The bulk of the awards involve deployment of smart meters, encompassing projects that call for the installation of 18 million new advanced meters, representing 13% of American homes.

In announcing the awards this morning, the Administration broke down the funding amounts according to the following policy goals:

· Empowering Consumers to Save Energy and Cut Utility Bills - $1 billion.

· Making Electricity Distribution and Transmission More Efficient - $400 million.

· Integrating and Crosscutting Across Different "Smart" Components of a Smart Grid - $2 billion.

· Building a Smart Grid Manufacturing Industry - $25 million.

In addition to the stepped-up smart meter deployments, which could ultimately expand to 40 million homes over the next several years, the administration says the investment grants will:

· Create tens of thousands of jobs across the country.

· Reduce power outage costs by $150 billion per year, about $500 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.

· Install more than 850 sensors, Phasor Measurement Units, that will cover 100 percent of the U.S. electric grid, making it easier for utilities to monitor grid conditions and minimize blackouts and other problems.

· Install more than 200,000 smart transformers, making it easier for companies to replace units before they fail.

· Install almost 700 automated substations, about 5 percent of the nation’s total, making it easier for utilities to respond to problems.

· Install more than 1 million in-home displays, 170,000 smart thermostats, and 175,000 other load control devices to enable consumers to reduce their energy use. Funding will also help expand the market for smart washers, dryers, and dishwashers, so that American consumers can further control their energy use and lower their electricity bills.

· Put the U.S. on a path to get 20 percent or more of our energy from renewable sources by 2020.

· Reduce peak electricity demand by more than 1400 MW, which is the equivalent of several larger power plants and can save ratepayers more than $1.5 billion in capital costs and help lower utility bills.

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