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article imageObama to give $3.4 billion for smart grid

By Joe Gullo     Oct 27, 2009 in Environment
President Barack Obama will announce $3.4 billion in government grants to help build a "smart" electric grid. the administration said that smart-grid deployment could cut electricity use by more than 4 percent by 2030.
According to the White House, the grid is expected to save money for consumers on their utility bills, reduce the number and duration of blackouts, and carry power supplies generated by solar and wind energy.
Carol Browner, the president's top adviser on climate change and energy issues, told Reuters, "It is fair to say that the current (grid) system is certainly outdated. It's dilapidated.Not only do we need to make the current system bigger and add more watts, but we need to make it function better."
The grants range from $400,000 to $200 million, will be distributed to 100 companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and other partners across forty-nine states.
Brown says, "The grants will not be used to build new power lines, but improve capabilities of the electrical system. I would say it's more than a face-lift."
The White House will try to act as quickly as possible to get the money into the economy. The funds will be expected to be in the accounts of the winning companies within 60 days. The projects are expected to last 12 to 36 months.
Reuters reports that one of the winning companies is Constellation Energy's Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., which will receive $200 million in grants to add to $250 million in private funds to deploy a smart meter network for all of its 1.1 million residential customers.
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