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Multi-billion dollar investment for US grid

  • 14 years ago (2009-12-14)
  • David Flin
North America 989

President Obama has announced the largest single energy grid modernisation programme, which will be used to fund a broad range of technologies intended to spur the country’s transition to a more efficient and reliable electric system. The end result is expected to promote energy-saving choices for consumers, increase efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy sources. The $3.4 billion in 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.

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An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4 per cent by 2030.

Among the announcements are $1 billion towards empowering consumers to save energy and cut utility bills. According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), 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.

It is also planned to invest $400 million into improving the efficiency of electricity transmission and distribution. The administration is funding several grid modernisation projects across the country that will significantly reduce the amount of power that is wasted in delivering electricity.

When these projects are fully implemented, the DOE expects the combined effects to create tens of thousands of jobs across the country. The investment will also make the grid more reliable, reducing the number of power outages currently estimated to cost US consumers $150 per year.

The DOE expects that the net result will be a reduction in peak electricity demand by more than 1400MW.