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Smart-Grid Stimulus

Utilities hurry up and wait to apply for grant money.

Fortnightly Magazine - June 2009

a utility evaluates proposals, it will wrestle with how to show convincingly how grants today can get money circulating quickly. R&D programs and investments hold more promise in this regard than do AMI-centric deployment activities.

As utilities grapple with developing a grant application and having this ready to submit to DOE in June, many key developments will be pending. DOE may not have established important priorities for funding. It may not have the benefit of a full cadre of political leadership in senior posts. Consensus may be lacking with key stakeholders like OMB, FERC and NARUC about funding and R&D priorities. NIST’s important work on reviewing standards and protocols for interoperability will be in progress, new federal smart-grid legislation may be pending, and states will continue in their efforts to evaluate and implement separate smart metering, demand response and smart-grid initiatives and programs.

Against this backdrop, it is likely that DOE will entertain thousands of grant applications for a huge range of potential funding awards, and DOE will be pressured to make awards quickly in the face of a deteriorating economy and the politics of the larger stimulus bill.

 

Endnotes:

1. “ Smart Grid may be vulnerable to Hackers ,” Mererve, Jane, CNN, Mar. 21, 2009 .

2. “Vice President Biden Outlines Funding for Smart Grid Initiatives,” DOE press release, April 16, 2009; and Notice of Intent to Issue and Funding Opportunity Announcement No. DE-FOA-0000036.

3. http://www.ferc.gov/industries/electric/indus-act/smart-grid/FERC-NARUC-collaborative.pdf.

4. EISA 2007, Section 1305(d).

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