The Department of Energy is announcing today a $3.4 billion investment in grants to “spur the nation’s transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system,” according to a press release by the DOE.
The funds will come from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be matched by industry for a total of approximately $8 billion, according to the DOE.
Quoting the DOE statement, the money will be used for the following categories:
• Empowering Consumers to Save Energy and Cut Utility Bills — $1 billion. These investments will create the infrastructure and expand access to smart meters and customer systems so that consumers will be able to access dynamic pricing information and have the ability to save money by programming smart appliances and equipment to run when rates are lowest. This will help reduce energy bills for everyone by helping drive down “peak demand” and limiting the need for “stand-by” power plants – the most expensive power generation there is.
- Making Electricity Distribution and Transmission More Efficient — $400 million. The Administration is funding several grid modernization projects across the country that will significantly reduce the amount of power that is wasted from the time it is produced at a power plant to the time it gets to your house. By deploying digital monitoring devices and increasing grid automation, these awards will increase the efficiency, reliability and security of the system, and will help link up renewable energy resources with the electric grid. This will make it easier for a wind farm in Montana to instantaneously pick up the slack when the wind stops blowing in Missouri or a cloud rolls over a solar array in Arizona.
- Integrating and Crosscutting Across Different “Smart” Components of a Smart Grid — $2 billion. Much like electronic banking, the Smart Grid is not the sum total of its components but how those components work together. The Administration is funding a range of projects that will incorporate these various components into one system or cut across various project areas – including smart meters, smart thermostats and appliances, syncrophasors, automated substations, plug in hybrid electric vehicles, renewable energy sources, etc.
- Building a Smart Grid Manufacturing Industry — $25 million. These investments will help expand our manufacturing base of companies that can produce the smart meters, smart appliances, synchrophasors, smart transformers, and other components for smart grid systems in the United States and around the world – representing a significant and growing export opportunity for our country and new jobs for American workers.
Update: Funds for Tribal lands
A full report will have to wait, but a quick look at the data contained in the document above shows that the Navajo Tribal Utility Association will receive nearly $5 million in the DOE’s Smart Grid investment awards.
The money will be used to install smart meters for all 38,000 customers served by the utility.