DOE Announces $620 Million for Smart Grid Projects

Nov 29 2009 | 8:39pm ET

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will provide $620 million in funding for 32 smart grid demonstration projects.

Projects include large-scale energy storage systems, smart meters, distribution and transmission system monitoring devices, and a range of other smart technologies. They will serve as models for the large-scale deployment of integrated smart grid systems.

The DOE says funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be leveraged with $1 billion in private sector funding.

Announcing the projects in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said they would show “how smart grid technologies can be applied to whole systems to promote energy savings for consumers, increase energy efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.”

Funding has been divided into two broad categories: smart grid demonstrations and energy storage demonstrations.

In the first category, 16 awards totaling $435 million will support fully integrated, regional smart grid demonstrations in 21 states, representing over 50 utilities and electricity organizations with a combined customer base of almost 100 million consumers.  The projects include streamlined communications technologies that will allow different parts of the grid to “talk” to each other in real time; sensing and control devices that help grid operators monitor and control the flow of electricity to avoid disruptions and outages; smart meters and in-home systems that empower consumers to reduce their energy use and save money; energy storage options; and on-site and renewable energy sources that can be integrated onto the electrical grid.

Grant winners in this category include the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power ($60 million), Boeing ($8.6 million) and Consolidated Edison of New York ($45 million).

In the second category, an additional 16 awards for a total of $185 million will help fund utility-scale energy storage projects that will enhance the reliability and efficiency of the grid, while reducing the need for new electricity plants. Improved energy storage technologies will allow for expanded integration of renewable energy resources like wind and photovoltaic systems and will improve frequency regulation and peak energy management.  The selected projects include advanced battery systems (including flow batteries), flywheels and compressed air energy systems.

Grant winners in this category include California’s Primus Power Corporation ($14 million), New Mexico’s Ktech Corporation ($4.8 million) and the New York State Electric & Gas Corporation ($29.6 million).

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