In the US, the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) this week announced it has secured federal funding of US$2.1 million for grid modernisation projects.
The non-profit organisation confirmed the US Department of Commerce had selected it for the Grid Interoperability Standards Cooperative Agreement Programme.
This funding will be disbursed through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to smart grid projects.
According to SGIP, the funding will cover advancement of the interoperability and security of smart grid devices and systems from the beginning of 2016 through to the end of 2018.
Commenting on the development, Sharon Allan, president of the SGIP, said the panel will “execute as NIST’s chosen partner in driving grid modernisation through collaboration to establish a self-sustaining, ongoing process beyond the funding period.”
SGIP is a US energy stakeholder’s consortium that promotes grid modernisation and the Internet of Things in energy through policy, education, and promotion of interoperability and standards.
US grid modernisation
The news follows the release of a US$2.3 billion loan package to build and improve rural electric infrastructure in 31 US states by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in late October.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said USDA was awarding loans to 77 utilities and cooperatives.
The funding includes more than US$108 million for smart grid technology, US$41 million for renewable energy improvements and US$9 million for storm damage repairs, reported Metering & Smart Energy International.
These loans will help build or improve 12,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines, according to a USDA statement.
The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Electric Programme, which makes loans and loan guarantees to non-profit and cooperative associations, public bodies and other utilities, primarily for electric distribution in rural areas.
For example, six rural utilities in the south-eastern state of Georgia have received loans amounting to US$250 million for expansion of their electric grids.
Utility corporation Jackson EMC will utilise its share of the loan in serving newly grid-connected office parks and sub divisions, according to an Atlanta-based radio station.
Jackson EMC spokeswoman Bonnie Jones said the loan, which will be paid after 35 years, will also be used for expanding the utility’s existing smart grid.
Four of the six Georgia utilities will receive close to US$5 million to engage in new smart grid development projects.