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Agriculture Department Awards $8 Million for Smart Grid Technology
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on February 18 announced that rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 12 states will receive loan guarantees to improve generation and transmission facilities, as well as to implement smart grid technologies. The announcement includes support for more than $8 million in smart grid technologies, which help utilities make efficiency improvements to the electric grid and help consumers lower their electric bills by reducing energy use in homes and businesses. States receiving this USDA smart grid funding are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.
Smart grid technologies involve adding communication capabilities and control systems to the electrical grid; this is expected to change how people use electricity, resulting in improved home energy management for the homeowner, greater demand control for the utility, and a more reliable power grid overall. Smart grids are also expected to better accommodate the use of renewable energy, all forms of on-site power production, and electric vehicles. See the USDA press release.