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White House Launches New Smart Grid Initiatives

Steven Chu, Nancy Sutley and Aneesh Chopra; Photo: energy.gov, ostp.gov

Some of the administration’s biggest energy and technology players are set to announce the launch of a number of new initiatives aimed at modernizing the power grid at a White House event this morning.

“Building the 21st Century Electric Grid” details the administration’s progress on so-called “smart” grid efforts — aimed at deploying IT solutions to modernize the electrical infrastructure, bolster innovation and take strides toward clean-energy goals.

The announcement also comes along with a new report by the National Science and Technology Council.

“A 21st-century grid is essential to America’s ability to lead the world in clean energy and win the future,” said John P. Holdren, President Barack Obama’s science and technology adviser and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which released the NSTC report. “By unlocking the potential of innovation in the electric grid, we are allowing consumers and businesses to use energy more efficiently even as we help utilities provide cleaner energy and more reliable service.”

At the event, Holdren will be joined by Energy Steven Chu, federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley, among others.

The initiatives involve a number of public-private measures, including:

  • $250 million in loans for smart-grid technology deployment, falling under the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utility Service, which is tasked with upgrading the electric grid in rural areas.
  • The launch of Grid 21, a private-sector initiative that will give consumers better access to their energy-usage information to take advantage of new tools and services to manage their energy use and potentially save on utility bills.

The latest efforts are in addition to the $4.5 billion in grid-modernization investments funded by the 2009 Recovery Act.

Click here to watch the event live.

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