President Obama Announces $3.4 Billion Investment to Spur Transition to Smart Energy Grid


– Speaking at Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) DeSoto Next Generation SolarEnergy Center,

President Barack Obama today announced the largest single energy grid modernization

investment in U.S.

history, funding a broad range of technologies that will spur the nation’s

transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric

system.  The end result will promote energy-saving choices for consumers,

increase efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy sources like

wind and solar. 

The $3.4 billion in Smart Grid Investment Grant awards are

part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be matched by

industry funding for a total public-private investment worth over $8

billion.  Applicants state that the projects will create tens of thousands

of jobs, and consumers in 49 states will benefit from these investments in a

stronger, more reliable grid.  Full listings of the grant awards by

category and state are available HERE and HERE.  A map of the awards is available HERE.

An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute

estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could reduce

electricity use by more than 4 percent by 2030.  That would mean a savings

of $20.4 billion for businesses and consumers around the country, and $1.6

billion for Florida alone — or $56 in utility

savings for every man, woman and child in Florida.

One-hundred private companies, utilities, manufacturers,

cities and other partners received awards today, including FPL which will use

its $200 million in funding to install 2.6 million smart meters and other

technology that will cut energy costs for its customers.  In the coming

days, Cabinet Members and other Administration officials will fan out to

awardee sites across the country to discuss how this investment will create

jobs, improve the reliability and efficiency of the electrical grid, and help

bring clean energy sources from high-production states to those with less

renewable generating capacity.  The awards announced today represent the

largest group of Recovery Act awards ever made in a single day and the largest

batch of Recovery Act clean energy grant awards to-date.

Today’s announcement includes:

  • 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,


  • 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.

The combined effect of the

investments announced today, when the projects are fully implemented, will:

  • Create

    tens of thousands of jobs across the country.  These jobs include

    high paying career opportunities for smart meter manufacturing workers;

    engineering technicians, electricians and equipment installers; IT system

    designers and cyber security specialists; data entry clerks and database

    administrators; business and power system analysts; and others.

  • Leverage

    more than $4.7 billion in private investment to match the federal


  • Make

    the grid more reliable, reducing power outages that cost American

    consumers $150 billion a year — about $500 for every man, woman and child

    in the United States. 

  • Install

    more than 850 sensors – called ‘Phasor Measurement Units’ – that will

    cover 100 percent of the U.S. electric grid and make it possible for grid

    operators to better monitor grid conditions and prevent minor disturbances

    in the electrical system from cascading into local or regional power

    outages or blackouts.  This monitoring ability will also help the

    grid to incorporate large blocks of intermittent renewable energy, like

    wind and solar power, to take advantage of clean energy resources when

    they are available and make adjustments when they’re not.


Install more than 200,000 smart transformers that will make it possible for

power companies to replace units before they fail thus saving money and

reducing power outages.


Install almost 700 automated substations, representing about 5 percent of the

nation’s total that will make it possible for power companies to respond faster

and more effectively to restore service when bad weather knocks down power

lines or causes electricity disruptions.


Power companies today typically do not know there has been a power outage until

a customer calls to report it. With these smart grid devices, power companies

will have the tools they need for better outage prevention and faster response

to make repairs when outages do occur.

  • Empower

    consumers to cut their electricity bills.  The Recovery Act combined

    with private investment will put us on pace to deploy more than 40 million

    smart meters in American homes and businesses over the next few years that

    will help consumers cut their utility bills.

  • Install

    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.  Funding will also help expand the market for smart

    washers, dryers, and dishwashers, so that American consumers can further

    control their energy use and lower their electricity bills.

  • Put

    us on a path to get 20 percent or more of our energy from renewable

    sources by 2020.

  • Reduce

    peak electricity demand by more than 1400 MW, which is the equivalent of

    several larger power plants and can save ratepayers more than $1.5

    billion in capital costs and help lower utility bills.  Since peak

    electricity is the most expensive energy – and requires the use of standby

    power generation plants – the economic and environmental savings for even

    a small reduction are significant.  In fact, some of the power plants

    for meeting peak demand operate for only a few hundred hours a year, which

    means the power they generate can be 5-10 times more expensive than the

    average price per kilowatt hour paid by most consumers.

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