U.S. smart grid stimulus funding supported 1,000 jobs so far


Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 19, 2010 – The United States smart grid stimulus funding has supported an estimated 1,000 jobs up to the end of 2009, according to the latest quarterly report on the economic impact of the funding.

Of these approximately 800 are clean energy jobs, i.e. directly related to clean energy programs, with the other 200 in other parts of the economy.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides approximately $10.5 billion to support smart grid and other grid modernization projects nationwide. Of this $3.4 billion in smart grid investment grants were announced to support 100 projects in October, and $620 million was announced to support 32 smart grid and energy storage demonstration projects in November, followed by a further $60 million to support better planning and integration of smart grid technologies into the nation’s three major transmission networks in December.

Moreover, the ARRA also increases the borrowing authority of the Bonneville and Western Area Power Administrations by $3.25 billion each, providing financing for further investments in transmission, of which both have already used a portion of their new borrowing authority to fund new transmission lines.

According to the report grid modernization obligations through the end of December totalled $2.666 billion, while outlays were $72 million (including the estimated costs of tax provisions).

In order to estimate the economic impact of the ARRA’s clean energy investments, a macroeconomic model was used to simulate the impact of estimates of the actual outlays and tax reductions related to the sector on GDP and employment.

Through 2012 grid modernization projects are expected to account for a total of 80,600 job years.

The report, which was prepared by the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), points out that as the investment components of the Act were intended to spend out gradually, the estimated number of jobs created or saved so far is relatively small.

In all an estimated 63,200 jobs were supported by clean energy programs through the end of  2009, while a total of 719,600 clean energy job years are expected through 2012.