What’s the quickest way to a full-fledged, nationwide smart grid? A quick injection of cash, if Barack Obama has anything to say about it. The President recently announced that $3.4 million in federal stimulus funds will go to 100 utility projects, all of which are designed to upgrade our ailing power grid and cut down on energy use.
Among the big winners: Baltimore Gas and Electric received $200 million for a program that will see 2 million residential smart meters installed; Central Maine Power got $96 million to upgrade its grid and activate in-home displays and digitally controlled appliances of customers on its 650,000 meters; San Diego Gas and Electric got $28.1 for its wireless smart grid program; Oklahoma Gas and Electric received $120 million to deploy smart meters to 100% of its customers; and Texas-based CenterPoint Energy took $200 million for a program that will install 2.2 million smart meters along with sensors and switches that protect against power outages. Funds will be delivered within 60 days.
Overall, Obama’s smart grid stimulus package will send out more than 40 million smart meters, 170,000 smart thermostats, 200,000 smart transformers, and 700 automated substations–not to mention the numerous jobs that will be created. The program will effectively bring the smart grid out of the experimental stages and into mainstream life, making it all the more worthwhile for companies like Whirlpool and GE to develop smart grid-compatible appliances.