By: Zachary Shahan
Obama discussed a big project long overdo and sorely needed today — modernizing the US electric grid. But it is more than discussion. $3.4 billion in Recovery Act funding is going towards this new project.
This is the most money ever awarded for clean energy in a single day from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act!
Obama spoke at the opening of the Florida Power and Light's (FPL) DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center (the nation’s largest PV electricity center) to announce and discuss the various benefits of this project.
Overall, a newer, smarter grid will provide more energy reliability. It will also be much more energy efficient and, thus, good for the environment as well as the economy. It will create tens of thousands of new jobs and is expected to save the public more than $20 billion over the course of the next decade, according to Obama. It will also help the US to get more of its energy from renewable sources.
This modernization project is “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 $3.4 billion investment is not even half of it, though. Industry will put some funding in as well to bring the total investment to over $8 billion.
The funding announcements today are for “Integrating and Crosscutting Across Different ‘Smart’ Components of a Smart Grid” ($2 billion), “Empowering Consumers to Save Energy and Cut Utility Bills” ($1 billion), “Making Electricity Distribution and Transmission More Efficient” ($400 million), and “Building a Smart Grid Manufacturing Industry” ($25 million).
Obama said, “This investment will come in the form of 100 grants totaling $3.4 billion — grants that will go to private companies, utilities, cities, and other partners who have applied with plans to install smart grid technologies in their area.”
For the full list of what this funding covers, what kind of jobs will be created, and the various technologies that will be used, look at the White House’s fact sheet.
In the near future, Cabinet Members and other Administration officials will visit the awardee sites all around the country to explain “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.”
As an overall statement of what this is, Obama said, “(it’s time) to build a clean energy superhighway that can take the renewable power generated in places like DeSoto and deliver it directly to the American people in the most affordable and efficient way possible.” This is what the project is about.
This is the largest set of Recovery Act funds for clean energy awarded in a single day and is even supported by the US Chamber of Commerce. It is a truly huge step to a cleaner, greener, and brighter energy future in the US!
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