President Obama on Tuesday announced a $3.4 billion federal investment to modernize the country’s outdated power grid.
The money will go to 100 projects in 49 states to add automated substations, digital transformers, electric meters in homes and other high-tech equipment to create a “smart” grid.
“We’re going to create an energy superhighway,” Mr. Obama said when making the announcement at Florida Power & Light Co.’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia, Fla., one of the country’s biggest solar-power facilities.
Mr. Obama used the nationally televised event to promote climate-change legislation in Congress that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions over time.
“We’ve heard these arguments before,” he said. “People don’t like change. They get nervous.”
The House has passed the legislation, and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works began hearings Tuesday morning on its own version.
The money will be released in the form of grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and recipients will have to match the federal money with an equal amount of private investment.
Administration officials said that the program includes $4.7 billion in private investments and that grants range from $400,000 to $200 million.
“They’ve got some real skin in the game here, which also makes good economic sense,” said Jared Bernstein, chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
For example, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. will receive $200 million and invest $251 million of its own to install 1.1 million smart meters and the information systems to manage them. The money also will go toward installing 400,000 in-home devices, including communicating thermostats and in-home displays to help consumers manage their power usage.
“The current system is certainly outdated; it’s dilapidated,” said Carol M. Browner, an assistant to the president for energy and climate change.
Mr. Bernstein joined Ms. Browner on Monday night in briefing reporters about the initiative.
The projects were selected from 400 proposals. The money will be disbursed in the next two months, and work is expected to be completed within three years.View Entire Story
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