Smart grid stimulus funding helping to build a platform for private sector innovation in U.S.


Joe Biden, U.S.
Vice President
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 25, 2010 – Stimulus funding investment in the United States in smart grids, among other areas, is helping to build a platform for private sector innovation and leverage private funds to accelerate the build-out of a 21st century infrastructure.

This is according to a new report “The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy through Innovation,” which was released today by vice president Joe Biden.

The report states that the Recovery Act’s $100 billion investment is not only transforming the economy and creating new jobs, but helping accelerate significant advances in science and technology that cut costs for consumers, save lives and help keep America competitive in the 21st century economy.

The Recovery Act is investing $4.5 billion in the smart grid, and according to the Council of Economic Advisers’ latest quarterly report, this is spurring an additional $6 billion in private sector investment.

The report says that Recovery Act funds in combination with private investments will add 18 million new smart meters to the eight million currently in use, in order to further empower consumers in their energy usage decisions, increase flexibility, and enhance reliability. This means 26 million smart meters will be in use by 2013, on track to reach 40 million by 2015.

Further, to improve system reliability the Recovery Act will install more than 875 transmission system sensors (or phasor measurement units) that can alert system operators and help prevent minor disturbances from cascading into large outages. Recovery Act funds also will help equip approximately 700 substations with automated devices to detect and respond to system irregularities, thereby helping to avoid outages. In addition, Recovery Act funds are being invested in the installation of over 200,000 advanced transformers capable of sensing conditions associated with failures and alerting system operators.

The report comments that this Recovery Act investment in smart grid is proving to have a powerful financial multiplier effect across the economy. In addition to the benefits linked to the deployment of smart devices, there also has been a positive impact on the U.S. manufacturing sector. The Recovery Act has invested $23.2 million in 48C tax credits to seven companies in smart grid related manufacturing. A related smart grid supply chain is emerging as a result of the billions of public and private dollars being invested. Device manufacturers have added workers to meet orders placed by recipients. Technology and software developers are coming up with solutions to new challenges associated with smart grid projects.

Orders linked to Recovery Act funding through the Smart Grid Investment, Regional Demonstration, and Storage Demonstration Grants are helping companies invest in new plant construction as well as plant expansions and new equipment to meet the demand driven by innovation. The accelerating emergence of the smart grid devices market has created jobs at these facilities and all along the supply chain.

“From the beginning, we have been a nation of discovery and innovation – and today we continue in that tradition as Recovery Act investments pave the way for game changing breakthroughs,” said Vice President Biden. “We’re planting the seeds of innovation, but private companies and the nation’s top researchers are helping them grow, launching entire new industries, transforming our economy and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process.”

The report also finds that through the Recovery Act investments the U.S. is on track to achieve major innovation breakthroughs, including cutting the cost of solar power in half by 2015, putting it on par with the cost of retail electricity from the grid; cutting the cost of batteries for electric vehicles by 70 percent between 2009 and 2015, putting the lifetime cost of an electric vehicle on par with that of its non-electric counterpart; and doubling U.S. renewable energy generation capacity and renewable manufacturing capacity by 2012.