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Obama announces US$3.4 billion to spur transition to US smart energy grid

The US$3.4 billion in grant awards are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be matched by industry funding for a total public-private investment worth over $8 billion.

Speaking at Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) DeSoto next generation solar energy center, Obama's announcement will set in motion the largest single energy grid modernisation investment in US history - in the form of 100 Smart Grid Grant awards funding a broad range of technologies in multiple States that will "spur the nation’s [USA] transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system".

Amongst the 100 awardees was FPL, which will use its US$200 million in funding to install over 2.5 million smart meters and other technologies that will cut energy costs for its customers.

An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4% by 2030. That would mean a savings of US$20.4 billion for businesses and consumers around the country, and US$1.6 billion for Florida alone - or US$56 in utility savings for every man, woman and child in Florida.

And speaking at Solar Power International in Anaheim, USA, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said that the developments could be expected to create tens of thousands of new job opportunities across the US: "This significant investment is just one of the ways the Administration is using the Recovery Act to not only create jobs now, but also lay a new foundation for economic and job growth".

Further information:

The announcement includes:

  • Empowering consumers to save energy and cut utility bills - US$1 billion;
  • Making electricity distribution and transmission more efficient - US$400 million;
  • Integrating and crosscutting across different “Smart” components of a smart grid - US$2 billion;
  • Building a smart grid manufacturing industry - US$25 million.

 

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