a new $3.4 billion plan to revamp the U.S. electrical grid and
launch a new era of renewable energy consumption. The new plan was
unveiled as Obama toured the nation's
largest solar energy plant. The funds will help the U.S. to build
a new "smart energy grid" that will help cut costs and
improve reliability of the existing electrical grid in
Obama said, "We need to do more than just add
solar megawatts to this electrical grid." He continued saying,
"This grid still runs on century-old technology. It wastes too
much energy and costs us too much money and it's too susceptible to
outages and blackouts."
Carol Browner, Obama's special
assistant on energy and climate change predicts that the program will
have a, "transformational impact on how electricity is
generated, delivered, and consumed." She added, "We have a
very antiquated system in this country. We need to upgrade that
system, we need to modernize that system, and with it will come
tremendous benefits for consumers and for our environment."
grants for the new smart grid program will range from $400,000 to
$200 million and will be granted to 100 different firms,
manufacturers, and cities. The total funds for the program are drawn
from the $787 billion economic stimulus plan.
the Obama administration claim that the new program will create tens
of thousands of jobs and lay the foundation for a green energy
infrastructure in the United States. An analysis from research firm
Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the use of a new
smart grid could shave energy usage in the country by 4% amounting to
$20.4 billion saved.
The grant funds will finance the
installation of a million in-home displays, 170,000 smart
thermostats, and 175,000 load control devices. Some projects are also
supplemented with funds from private companies.
California has a statewide
plan to save energy in place already.