Government Technology

Funding Increases for Smart Grid Projects - Up To $200 Million

Smart Meter
Smart Meter

May 21, 2009 By

A Smart Grid would replace the current, outdated system and employ real-time, two-way communication technologies to allow users to connect directly with power suppliers. Funding for this was included in the stimulus package because the development of the grid will create jobs and spur the development of innovative products that can be exported. As well, once implemented, the Smart Grid is expected to save consumers money and spur the use of renewable energy sources.

Before it can be constructed, however, agreement is needed on standards for the devices that will connect the grid. As previously reported, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been charged with developing these standards.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently chaired a meeting of industry leaders at the White House. Following this on May 18, Secretary Chu announced the first set of standards that are needed for Smart Grid interoperability and security. $10 million in Recovery Act funds is now going to NIST to develop these interoperability standards further.

Shortly, the initial batch of 16 NIST-recognized interoperability standards proposed will be released. These are designed to help ensure that software and hardware components from different vendors will work together seamlessly while securing the grid against disruptions.

Spanning areas ranging from smart customer meters to distributed power generation components to cybersecurity, this list of standards is based on the consensus expressed by participants in the first public Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Interim Roadmap workshop, held April 28-29 in Reston, Va.

Secretary Chu also announced that, based on feedback from the public and Smart Grid stakeholders, the Department of Energy (DOE) is increasing the maximum award available under the Recovery Act for Smart Grid programs. The maximum award available under the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program will be increased from $20 million to $200 million, and the maximum award for the Smart Grid Demonstration Projects will be increased from $40 million to $100 million. In making awards, DOE will ensure that funding is provided to small projects as well as end-to-end larger projects.

According to a news release, public comments on the initial standards will be accepted for 30 days after their upcoming publication in the Federal Register. The date of publication will be posted on

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Photo by Tom Raftery. CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


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