THE GRID MUST WISE UP
Smartening the power grid; The nation's energy transmission infrastructure needs major improvements, and the federal government is kick-starting the effort with $3.4 billion in grants for a so-called smart grid...
George Bennett, October 29, 2009 (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"Invoking America's construction of the Interstate highway system half a century ago, President Obama… called for creation of a "clean energy superhighway" in remarks at… the largest photovoltaic solar plant in the nation.
"The president announced $3.4 billion in federal grants for "smart grid" projects aimed at boosting the efficiency of the nation's electricity network and enabling consumers to conserve energy and cut their utility bills…Standing amid 90,500 solar panels at FPL's $152 million Next Generation Solar Energy Center [that produces 25 megawatts of power, or enough to supply about 3,000 homes] on 180 acres in DeSoto County, Obama compared improving the national power network to President Dwight Eisenhower's push for a national four-lane highway network in the 1950s…"
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"The Obama administration says the grants, which are part of the $787 billion economic stimulus package approved this year, will create or save "tens of thousands" of jobs while making the nation's electricity network more reliable and efficient and more compatible with renewable energy sources…FPL's $200 million grant will be used at least in part to install more than 2.6 million "smart meters" in homes to provide more detailed consumption information to customers and enable them to reduce energy use and cut their bills.
"…Carol Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate change, called the nation's current power system "outdated" and "dilapidated." …The recipients of the $3.4 billion in smart-grid grants are matching the federal money with a combined $4.7 billion in private investment, Browner said. FPL is putting up $380 million to match the $200 million federal grant…"
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"The administration cited an analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute that says smart-grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4 percent by 2030 and save more than $20 billion in energy costs…The grants will be used to pay for 18 million smart meters, administration officials said. Other consumer-focused measures include installation of more than 1 million in-home displays, 170,000 smart thermostats, and 175,000 other load control devices to enable consumers to reduce their energy use.
"For power companies and grid operators, the grants will pay for more than 200,000 "smart transformers," 850 sensors and 700 automated substations that will provide more information and help prevent minor disturbances from cascading into major outages or blackouts."