October 27, 2009 By News Report
Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas announced yesterday that the state's electric utilities will receive $68,928,650 in competitive federal stimulus funds to deploy Smart Grid technology including advanced metering and grid automation technologies statewide. "This grant is exciting not only for the jobs created in the short term by transition to Smart Grid technologies, but also because of the jobs and economic benefits it provides in the long term by making our energy costs more competitive," Douglas said in a statement. "And it will help position Vermont to take advantage of technologies such as electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, enabling us to reduce the fossil fuel we use for transportation as well as heating and other uses." Vermont's coordinated statewide application was one of 100 that were funded and constitutes roughly 2 percent of the total $3.4 billion awarded.
In Vermont, smart grid projects will include a statewide fiber optic build-out by VELCO that enhances Vermont's grid, improves interconnections with surrounding states and Quebec, and facilitates statewide broadband. Automated metering infrastructure and smart meters will create a technical infrastructure that will allow Vermont utilities to introduce new peak and time-of-use dynamic pricing, and enhance existing outage management systems. Customer systems such as in-home displays that provide real-time feedback and information about home energy usage and pricing will be deployed within Vermont to fundamentally change how customers manage their electricity.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.