Obama Admin Announces $3.4 Billion for Smart Grid


Barack Obama on Tuesday announced $3.4 billion in funding for smart grid technology, the largest investment in energy grid modernization in history.

“There’s something big happening in America in terms of creating a clean-energy economy,” Obama said, adding that there is much more to be done.

The funds will be used to deploy “smart meters,” a digital technology that delivers information on energy usage to both customers and to utilities. For homeowners, this would be a display in the house that gives a readout on electricity use, which is in turn connected to the electricity providers so they can better coordinate their energy delivery.

The investment was announced during Obama’s visit to Florida Power and Light’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia, Florida. FPL received a $200 million grant, which will be used to install 2.6 million smart meters and other technologies designed to cut energy costs for customers. This kind of investment will help build a “smarter, stronger and more secure electric grid,” Obama said.

Grants were awarded to 100 different companies as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, for projects in every state except Alaska. They’re matched with $4.7 billion industry funding, so the total investment is worth more than $8 billion. The White House also released a map of the locations for the smart grid projects.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.