Smart grid funding impact significant in U.S., DOE reports


Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 29, 2013 – As of March 2012 the total invested value of the $2.96 billion to support smart grid projects in the United States had generated at least $6.8 billion in total economic output and was supporting about 47,000 full time equivalent jobs, according to a new review from the Department of Energy.

Moreover many of these are higher paying jobs, with industrial sectors benefitting directly including computer systems design, technical and scientific services and consulting, and electrical/wireless equipment and component manufacturing. Industrial sectors that experience indirect and induced benefits include real estate, wholesale trade, financial services, restaurants, and healthcare.

The report, Economic Impact of Recovery Act Investments in the Smart Grid, reviews investments made through March 2012 under the Smart Grid Investment Grant and the Smart Grid Demonstration Programs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The report evaluates the economic effects of immediate spending, not long term impacts, and includes employment, total labor income, GDP and economic output

The report considers two investment scenarios – an all vendors scenario, and a subset smart grid vendors scenario comprising only those core to the smart grid industry.  For the latter payments were $2.11 billion, which generated $4.79 billion in total economic output

Among the other findings of the analysis, the smart grid gross domestic product (GDP) multiplier was found to be 2.5 to 2.6, depending on the scenario being evaluated, i.e. for every $1 million of direct spending, the GDP increased by $2.5 to $2.6 million. This is higher than many forms of government investment and compares favorably against other potential government investments in general spending or other types of infrastructure.

According to the report the smart grid projects that received funding under the two ARRA smart grid programs are representative of typical smart grid investment that is expected to occur for years to come in the U.S. Follow-on investments, funded by state, ratepayer and private sector sources are likely to have a similarly positive impact profile, and should continue to generate high technology and professional jobs as grid modernization continues.