Stimulus funding to support U.S. smart grid development


Steven Chu,
U.S. Energy
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 17, 2009 – Almost $170 million in stimulus funding for initiatives including smart grids has been announced by senior Obama administration officials.

Of this $80 million is allocated to support long term regional and interconnection transmission analysis and planning across the nation. Under the program, state and local governments, utilities and other stakeholders will collaborate on the development and implementation of the next generation of high voltage transmission networks across the three networks – the Western, Eastern and Texas interconnections. Within each network, output and consumption by the generation and transmission facilities must be carefully coordinated. As additional energy sources are joined to the country’s electrical grid, increased planning and analysis will be essential to maintain electricity reliability.

$50 million is allocated for assistance to state electricity regulators to support their key role in regulating and overseeing new electricity projects, including smart grid developments, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, carbon capture and storage projects, etc. The funds will be used by states and public utility commissions to hire new staff and retrain existing employees to accelerate reviews of the large number of electric utility requests expected under the Recovery Act.  

$39.6 million is allocated to support energy assurance capabilities for states and will be available for state governments to improve emergency preparedness plans and ensure the resiliency of the country’s electrical grid. Funds will be used by the cities and states to hire or retrain staff to prepare them for issues such as integrating smart grid technology into the transmission network, critical infrastructure interdependencies, and cyber-security.

The announcements were made at the annual meeting of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA).

“These steps send an unmistakable message: the Obama Administration will be a strong partner with the West on clean energy,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “We will create jobs, promote our energy independence, and cut our carbon emissions by unlocking the enormous potential for renewable energy in the Western United States.”