This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 25, 2009

DOE Awards $620 Million for Smart Grid and Energy Storage Projects

DOE awarded on November 24 a total of $620 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for projects around the country to demonstrate advanced Smart Grid technologies and integrated systems, as well as large-scale energy storage systems. The 16 Smart Grid demonstration projects, which include smart meters, distribution and transmission system monitoring devices, and a range of other smart technologies, will act as models for deploying integrated Smart Grid systems on a broader scale. This Recovery Act funding will leverage $1 billion from the private sector to support a total investment of more than $1.6 billion. An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that implementing Smart Grid technologies could reduce U.S. electricity use by more than 4% by 2030.

DOE will award $435 million to support 16 fully integrated, regional Smart Grid demonstrations in 21 states, representing over 50 utilities and electricity organizations with a combined customer base of almost 100 million consumers. The projects include streamlined communication technologies that will allow different parts of the grid to "talk" to each other in real time; sensing and control devices that help grid operators monitor and control the flow of electricity to avoid disruptions and outages; smart meters and in-home systems that empower consumers to reduce their energy use and save money; on-site energy storage options; and on-site and renewable energy sources that can be integrated onto the electrical grid. For example, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. will demonstrate a secure Smart Grid in New York and New Jersey that will offer grid monitoring and automated control of transmission lines and will better accommodate renewable power generation. The system, which will include lower Manhattan, will accommodate electric vehicle charging stations, and will feature customer systems designed to help expand the use of renewable energy and lead to greater customer participation in the electricity system.

An additional 16 awards for a total of $185 million will help fund utility-scale energy storage projects that will enhance the reliability and efficiency of the grid, while reducing the need for new electricity plants. Improved energy storage technologies will allow for expanded integration of renewable energy resources like wind and photovoltaic systems and will improve frequency regulation and peak energy management. The selected projects include advanced battery systems (including flow batteries), flywheels, and compressed air energy systems. One recipient is 44 Tech Inc., which is getting $5 million to partner with Carnegie Mellon University to demonstrate a sodium-ion battery for grid applications. This project will showcase a new, low-cost, long-life, highly efficient, environmentally friendly, stationary battery that uses proven and fully novel cell chemistry. See the DOE press release, and a complete list of the projects (PDF 59 KB). Download Adobe Reader.