The Department of Energy is announcing today a $3.5 billion investmentin grants to “spur the nation’s transition to a smarter, stronger, moreefficient and reliable electric system,” according to a press releaseby the DOE.
The funds will come from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act,and will be matched by industry for a total of approximately $8billion, 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 andexpand access to smart meters and customer systems so that consumerswill be able to access dynamic pricing information and have the abilityto save money by programming smart appliances and equipment to run whenrates are lowest. This will help reduce energy bills for everyone byhelping 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 gridmodernization projects across the country that will significantlyreduce the amount of power that is wasted from the time it is producedat a power plant to the time it gets to your house. By deployingdigital monitoring devices and increasing grid automation, these awardswill increase the efficiency, reliability and security of the system,and will help link up renewable energy resources with the electricgrid. This will make it easier for a wind farm in Montana toinstantaneously pick up the slack when the wind stops blowing inMissouri or a cloud rolls over a solar array in Arizona.