Vice President Joe Biden detailed plans by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a smart, strong and secure electrical grid. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the vice president outlined plans to distribute more than $3.3 billion in Smart Grid technology development grants and an additional $615 million for Smart Grid storage, monitoring and technology viability.

The DOE's Smart Grid Investment Grant Program will provide grants ranging from $500,000 to $20 million for Smart Grid technology deployments. It also will provide grants of $100,000 to $5 million for the deployment of grid-monitoring devices. This program provides matching grants of up to 50% for investments planned by electric utilities and other entities to deploy Smart Grid technologies. The program will use a competitive, merit-based process to select qualified projects to receive funding.

Smart Grid demonstrations will be funded in three areas:

  • Smart Grid regional demonstrations will quantify Smart Grid costs and benefits, verify technology viability and examine new business models.
  • Utility-scale energy storage demonstrations can include technologies such as advanced battery systems, ultra-capacitors, flywheels and compressed-air energy systems, and applications such as wind and photovoltaic integration and grid-congestion relief.
  • Grid monitoring demonstrations will support the installation and networking of multiple high-resolution, time-synchronized grid-monitoring devices (called phasor measurement units) that allow transmission system operators to see, and therefore influence, electric flows in real-time.

Each demonstration project must be carried out in collaboration with the electric utility that owns the grid facilities. The projects require a cost share of at least 50% of non-federal funds.