This week, President Obama awarded $3.4 billion in stimulus grants to 100 smart grid projects in 45 states. To track how the stimulus money is being spent, SmartGridNews.com and green-IT company Telvent have launched the Stimulus Channel. The Stimulus Channel works like other stimulus-reporting sites, showing where the money is being spent and how projects are progressing. It also aggregates local news about the projects, offers stimulus toolkits for every state as well as summaries of state energy projects and awards. The Department of Energy predicts that the stimulus grants will create 18 million new smart meters, bringing the total up to 40 million, which will cover 31 percent of the nation's housing units.
"The combined effect of our $3.4 billion investment, when the projects are fully implemented, will create thousands of jobs, including higher paying career opportunities for smart meter manufacturing workers, make the grid more reliable and empower consumers to cut their electricity bills," said the executive director of the White House Council on Auto Communities and Workers, Edward Montgomery.
"We estimate these improvements will reduce electricity demand by 1,400 megawatts, and put us on a path to get 20 percent or more of our energy from renewable resources by 2020," Montgomery said.
One example of the uses being put to smart grid stimulus money is Michigan’s SmartCurrents program, which received $83 million in stimulus grants from the Department of Energy.
The program will install 660,000 smart meters over the next two years, creating over 1,000 jobs in a region hit hard by the collapse of the auto industry.
"This may be our country's last, best chance to renew the electric power system and make it ready for a future of renewable energy, electric vehicles, and global competition," said SmartGridNews Founding Editor Jesse Berst.
"With this new channel we have made a pledge to cover all things with regards to the stimulus,” Berst said.