U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced that up to $8 million in funding will be made available to encourage utilities, local governments, and communities to create programs that empower consumers to better manage their electricity use through improved access to their own electricity consumption data. Under the “Smart Grid Data Access” Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), local communities will be able to partner with utilities and third-party technology innovators to develop and implement programs that make consumer electricity consumption data readily available. Programs developed under this funding announcement could lead to greater residential energy efficiency and potentially to reduced energy costs for consumers.
“Providing consumers with easy access to data on their energy consumption can help give them the tools they need to make informed decisions about their energy use,” said Secretary Chu. “Developing applications and services to help consumers understand and control their energy use is a field ripe for American innovation.”
New smart grid technologies on the electric grid are generating unprecedented amounts of electricity usage data that can potentially give homes and businesses more control over their electricity choices. However, in order to turn this data into useable information, consumers need tools and software products that are convenient and easy to use so they can more effectively understand their electricity use.
The “Smart Grid Data Access” FOA will be conducted in two phases. In Phase I, applicants will provide detailed demonstration plans that outline their process for establishing the required data access policies for consumers and authorized third parties. Phase I applicants will also be required to demonstrate at least one third-party software application designed to deliver a valuable service to consumers, and provide a means to better manage electricity consumption. Phase I will include 10-12 projects, funded at $500,000 each. For phase II, the Department will select one recipient to receive approximately $2,000,000 for the wide scale adoption of Phase I work.
The FOA, which is available at FedConnect.net, provides additional information, including cost-sharing requirements for government-industry cooperation. The deadline for submitting applications is March 1, 2012.