US increases smart grid budgets up to $200M - 22 May 2009


The US government has announced significant progress that will help expedite development of a nationwide "smart" electric power grid.

A Smart Grid would replace the current, outdated system and employ real-time, two-way communication technologies to allow users to connect directly with power suppliers. Once implemented, the Smart Grid is expected to save consumers money and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil by improving efficiency and spurring the use of renewable energy sources.

Before it can be constructed, however, there needs to be agreement on standards for the devices that will connect the grid.

After a meeting of industry leaders the first set of standards that are needed for the interoperability and security of the Smart Grid and $10 million in Recovery Act funds provided by the Energy Department to the National Institute of Standards and Technology to support the development of interoperability standards was announced.

The maximum award available under the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program will be increased from $20 million to $200 million and for the Smart Grid Demonstration Projects from $40 million to $100 million.

The initial batch of 16 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-recognized interoperability standards announced will 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, the list of standards is based on the consensus expressed by participants in the first public Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Interim Roadmap workshop.

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