President Obama Announces Smart Grid Plans

27/10/2009 at 10:39 am Leave a comment

President Barack Obama announced a $3.4 billion investment of stimulus funds to modernize the electric grid Tuesday, saying that creating the nation’s new clean-energy economy will require an “all-hands-on-deck approach” like the one that put a man on the moon.

“The growth of clean energy can lead to the growth of our economy,” Obama said at a solar-energy facility in Arcadia, Fla. But he predicted some would fight the changes, including his proposed legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gases, but called on the nation to seize the initiative in pursuing clean energy.

“The closer we get to this new energy future, the harder the opposition is going to fight,” Obama said. “It’s a debate between looking backwards and looking forward, between those who are ready to seize the future and those who are afraid of the future, and we know which side the United States of America has always come down on.”

Obama announced that 100 private companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and others will receive grants of between $400,000 and $200 million to help build a nationwide “smart energy grid” that will cut costs for consumers and make the nation’s electrical system more reliable.

The grants are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs and also lay down the infrastructure to create a new renewable energy industry, one of Obama’s longstanding goals.

The stimulus funds will draw an additional $4.7 billion in private investment to match the grant awards.

“The smart grid is something that has a transformational impact on how energy is delivered,” Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, said ahead of Obama’s speech. “This is about building more than just miles of wire, it’s about building…something that works.”

Also, Vice President Joe Biden announced a plan to reopen a closed General Motors factory to produce plug-in hybrid cars in Wilmington, Del.

Obama’s speech put climate and energy initiatives center stage, just as the Senate kicks off hearings about a climate bill sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer, (D-Calif.) On Tuesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works committee will hear testimony from five top administration officials on the legislation.

The bill would create a cap and trade system that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

Improving the electrical grid, say administration officials, will increase energy efficiency and independence by encouraging growth in renewable power sources like solar, geothermal, and wind. The administration has set a goal of getting at least 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The funding will be used to install 700 automated substations, more than 200,000 smart transformers, 170,000 smart thermostats, 40 million smart meters, and other new technologies. The projects will cut electricity costs for consumers and give consumers in 49 states access to renewable power sources.

They’ll also help prevent power outages, which the administration says costs consumers about $150 billion annually, and help utilities respond more effectively when electricity disruptions occur.

Jared Bernstein, Biden’s chief economist, said the funding will create new jobs for manufacturers, electricians, equipment installers, business analysis, IT system designers, data entry clerks, and others.

Source: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/28772.html

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Entry filed under: Green technology, Incentives, Renewable Energy. Tags: , , , , , .

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