Duke Energy, Charlotte, North Carolina, has finalized an agreement with the Department of Energy for $204 million in stimulus funds to support smart grid projects in the company's five-state service territory.

The DOE funds will support two projects: $200 million -- the maximum allowed per project under the DOE Smart Grid Investment Grant Program -- will assist in modernizing Duke Energy's power distribution system; $4 million will support the installation of digital equipment on the transmission system in the Carolinas.

"With this stimulus money, Duke Energy looks forward to maintaining its leadership role in modernizing the electric grid and helping to revitalize the nation's economy," said Gianna Manes, Duke Energy senior vice president and chief customer officer. "Smart grid technology is essential to achieving energy efficiency while creating significant employment opportunities."

Duke Energy expects to save or create approximately 1,000 jobs as it modernizes its grid system in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and the Carolinas.

Duke Energy plans to spend $1 billion over the next five years to deploy smart grid technology in its service territory. Deployment includes digital and automated technology such as smart meters, distribution automation equipment, and communications infrastructure.

"Our investment in digital, smart grid technologies will enable the information and automation necessary to increase energy efficiency, improve reliability and reduce carbon emissions," Manes said.