Thursday, 30 April 2009

Smart grid news

Several items on smart grids over the last week:

- As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the US Department of Energy plans to distribute more than $3.3bn in smart grid technology development grants and an additional $615 million for smart grid storage, monitoring and technology viability. DOE’s Smart Grid Investment Grant Program will provide grants ranging from $500,000 to $20m for smart grid technology deployments and $100,000 to $5 million for the deployment of grid monitoring devices. The program provides matching grants of up to 50% for investments planned by electric utilities and other entities to deploy smart grid technologies.

- In an initiative called Energy Smart Miami, Miami-Dade County plans to use the stimulus funds to help spur a $200m investment in smart grid technology and renewable energy over the next two years. Partners in the project include Florida Power and Light (FPL), GE, Cisco Systems and Silver Spring Networks. The backbone of Energy Smart Miami will be the deployment of more than 1 million wireless smart meters to every home and most businesses in Miami-Dade County. Energy Smart Miami has its own web site.

- Reuters has reported that at its shareholders meeting General Electric's vice chairman and chief executive of the energy unit said that he expects the company's smart grid electricity monitoring business to grow to $3-$4bn in annual revenue over the next three to four years.

- According to a report from the London School of Economics (LSE) entitled The UK's Digital Road to Recovery, an additional £15bn invested in broadband networks, intelligent transport systems and a smart power grid would create 700,000 jobs, half in small businesses, and boost UK productivity.

There really does seem to be the start of a snowball effect behind smart grids. Clearly its an essential technology for reducing energy use and emissions and will become ubiquitous in the future. GE is certainly expecting significant revenue and there are a lot of other companies that have a huge amount to gain from the knock-on systems and solutions requirements. It's coming fast, so be ready.

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