EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has announced a $200 million grant for a smarter, stronger and more efficient electric system in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. The funding, announced at a press conference with Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton and Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, is part of President Barack Obama’s announcement yesterday of the largest single energy grid modernization investment in U.S. history - $3.4 billion in Smart Grid Investment Grant Awards under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that will be matched by industry for a total investment worth more than $8 billion, according to an EPA press statement.
“A cornerstone of our new foundation for prosperity is the growth of the American clean energy economy,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Investments in innovative Smart Grid technology will create new jobs, lower energy bills for consumers and businesses, promote more efficient and reliable energy delivery, and set the stage for affordable clean energy across the country.”
An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4 percent by 2030. That would mean a savings of $20.4 billion for businesses and consumers around the country, and $500 million for North Carolina alone – or $51 in utility savings for every man, woman and child in North Carolina.
“These funds will help us modernize North Carolina’s energy grid – empowering consumers to cut their electric bills and paving the way for a greener, more efficient energy system,” said North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue.
The $200 million grant, which Progress Energy will match with $300 million of its own funding, will fund system and equipment upgrades that will make their grid more efficient, saving consumers money in the Carolinas and in Florida. Progress Energy will also use its funding to install 160,000 smart meters and other technology that will cut energy costs for its customers.
“Progress Energy is currently investing in several Smart Grid initiatives to meet our customer’s changing electricity needs throughout the communities that rely on us for reliable power,” said Bill Johnson, Progress Energy chairman, president and CEO. “This grant program has the potential to expand investments necessary to transform the electric grid to give customers greater control of their energy use, enable utilities to harness the potential of renewable energy and electric vehicles and improve power quality and service reliability.”
North Carolina companies, serving five states, will receive $403 million total in recovery act funding for smart grid development, which will be matched by nearly $975 million in private funds for a total investment of $1.3 billion. Duke Energy will receive a similar $200 million grant.