U.S. stimulus plan signed into law with smart grid provisions


US President
Barack Obama
Denver, CO, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — February 18, 2009 – United States President Barack Obama yesterday signed into law the anticipated $787 billion economic stimulus package, including $11 billion in credits and incentives for smart grids.

In particular an amount of $4.5 billion is provided for activities to modernize the electric grid, provide demand responsive equipment, enhance security and reliability, perform energy storage research, development, demonstration and deployment, and facilitate recovery from disruptions to the energy supply.

In total the package provides more than $71 billion for clean energy projects, as well as $20 billion in clean energy tax incentives. Other activities will include the construction of new transmission and upgrading of electric power transmission lines and related facilities necessary to deliver power generated by renewable energy resources. An amount of $100 million will also be provided for worker training.

Financial support will be provided to smart grid demonstration projects in urban, suburban, tribal, and rural areas, including areas where electric system assets are controlled by non profit entities or investor-owned utilities.

Utilities will receive up to 50 percent of the cost of qualifying advanced grid technology investments made by the utility or other party to carry out a smart grid demonstration project. Such demonstration projects must utilize open protocols and standards (including internet-based protocols and standards) if available and appropriate.

A smart grid information clearinghouse will be established, which will make data from the smart grid demonstration projects and other sources available to the public. As a condition of receiving financial assistance utilities and other participants in smart grid demonstration projects will be required to provide information through the clearinghouse.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to give it its full title, should “spark the creation of a clean energy economy,” Obama promised in his inaugural address.

In a recent White Paper industry expert Howard Scott argued that the smart grid funding should be focused on smart metering (see U.S. Stimulus Plan smart grid funding should focus on smart metering), with the prospect that widespread deployment of smart meters could add a significant number of new jobs quickly.