How to spend more than $4 billion stimulus funds on the smart grid

In April 2009 the Department of Energy (DOE) announced its intent to issue a competitive Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for grants for the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program (SGIG). The Smart Grid Investment Grant Program was originally authorized by Section 1306 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and later modified by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Google Powermeter
Google Powermeter

According to Environmentalleader “the DOE Smart Grid Investment Grant Program will provide grants ranging from $500,000 to $20 million for smart-grid technology deployments, and grants of $100,000 to $5 million for the deployment of grid monitoring devices. This program provides matching grants of up to 50 percent for investments planned by electric utilities and other entities to deploy smart-grid technologies.”

On last Wednesday the call for inputs closed and a variety of companies did manage to submit their thoughts – a prominent one is Google. Google wrote in their blog:

Getting smart about energy starts with empowering consumers and businesses with information and tools to make better energy choices. That’s why we submitted comments today with the Department of Energy, asking them to put consumers first as they develop one of the more promising elements of the ARRA — a $4.5 billion grant program for “smart” grid investments. We also asked the DOE to ensure the program contributes to President Obama’s goal of funding the installation of 40 million smart electricity meters in American homes. You can read our comments here.”

Google recommends eliminating references to grant sizes and ceilings in the final call for funding and tells the DOE to consider creating different funding categories for different-sized projects (see Earth2Tech for further details).

As mentioned in my blogpost about “Green tools and gadgets”  google is at the moment working on a online Power Meter and therefore it is clear that they have an interest in shifting they funds into “their” direction. They wrote in their comments that “Empowering electricity consumers with new information, tools and choices to manage energy should be a main driver of the Smart Grid Investment Grants” which perfectly fits into the online Power Meter development … however, every invest that goes into Smart Grids Development is a way forward 🙂

Btw: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has launched a project to develop urgently needed interoperability standards for smart grids …. read more on Energy & Enviro Finland.

Edit 14:40 … just reading a press release of DECC that Britain plans to replace all existing electricity and gas meters – often clunky objects hidden away amid domestic clutter in dark understairs cupboards – with easily viewed devices that show consumers exactly how much energy they are using, including by individual appliances by 2020.

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