Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Obama's $8 Billion Plan to Modernize the U.S. Power Grid

President Barack Obama announced last week a $8-billion federal plant to modernize the United State's power grid. $3.4 billion will come from the government, and the rest will be put up by private companies.  Here's an excerpt from his speech:
"At this moment, there's something big happening in America when it comes to creating a clean-energy economy. But getting there will take a few more days like this one, and more projects like this one. Here in this region of Florida, this project will reduce demand for electricity by up to 20 percent during the hottest summer days that stress the grid and power plants,. It will provide smart meters to 2.6 million more customers. And most importantly, it will create thousands of jobs - good jobs, by the way, that can't be outsourced; jobs that will last and jobs that pay a decent wage."
In the words of Bill Richardson, former U.S. Energy Secretary, "In my view, we're the world's greatest superpower but we have a Third World electricity grid."  This new plan is not solely about renewable energies.  Here's the breakdown:

-$1 billion for smart meters and other consumer oriented technology
-$2 billion for infrastructure to support those meters
-$400 million to modernize power lines
-$25 million to push for smarter, more power efficient devices

This should increase the efficiency of electricity transport and consumption at homes.  In theory, this plan will return us $20 billion in savings during the next decade, plus it will increase the reliability of the grid to avoid power outages that cost $150 billion a year to the US economy.  About effing time.

[Link: ArtsTechnica]

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