U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu have announced what they believe is significant progress that will help expedite development of a nationwide smart electric power grid.
After co-chairing a meeting of industry leaders at the White House, Locke and Chu presented the first set of standards that are needed for the interoperability and security of the smart grid and $10 million in Recovery Act funds provided by the Department of Energy (DOE) to the Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Institute of Standards and Technology to support the development of interoperability standards.
A smart grid would replace the current, outdated system and employ real-time, two-way communication technologies to allow users to connect directly with power suppliers.
Once implemented, the smart grid is expected to save consumers money and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil by improving efficiency and spurring the use of renewable energy sources, according to the DOE and the DOC. Before the grid can be constructed, however, there needs to be agreement on standards for the devices that will connect the smart grid.
Chu also announced that based on feedback from the public and smart grid stakeholders, the DOC is increasing the maximum award available under the Recovery Act for smart-grid programs. The maximum award available under the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program will be increased from $20 million to $200 million and from $40 million to $100 million for the Smart Grid Demonstration Projects.
Public comments on the initial standards will be accepted for 30 days after their upcoming publication in the Federal Register. The date of publication will be posted on http://www.nist.gov/smartgrid/.
SOURCE: Department of Energy, Department of Commerce