"The smart grid spending is supposed to both create jobs and improve the efficiency and reliability of the electricity grid by lowering peak demand, reducing energy consumption, integrating more renewable energy sources and easing the pressure to build new coal-fired power plants. A variety of devices may qualify, including meters, grid management software, and other equipment.
Last week the department unveiled proposed guidelines for its smart grid program, which was part of the stimulus bill President Obama signed into law in February. It said that it would provide grants of $500,000 to $20 million to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of any project deploying smart grid technology."
"'The ceiling of $20 million is so low that I fear dollars will just be spread around without accomplishing much,' said David Mohler, vice president and chief technology officer of Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy. Duke Energy has already budgeted $1 billion in its five-year plan for smart grid investments, he said, but 'if there were $1.5 billion you'd get more done quicker.'"