04 February 2009

Smart Meter Funding

In a Smart Grid Jobs Report released recently by the GridWise Alliance, it is estimated that up to 280,000 new jobs can be created directly from the deployment of smart grid technologies. The report explains that Federal investment in a smart grid could act as a catalyst for these planned and immediate direct jobs as well as spawn many indirect jobs. Brisbane City Council is subsidizing smart meters as part of their $50 Climate Smart Home Service .

Here are some more recent blog posts and news articles on smart meter funding.

$5m Country Energy smart meter trial comes to NSW

However, according to an Energy Australia report last year, energy prices are also a major obstacle in Australia to a smart metering system: due to the relatively low price of energy, a full-scale rollout could be hard to justify. Consumers should not expect the technology in the near future: Country Energy plans to spend just AU$5 million from its AU$500 million annual capital expenditure budget, and is yet to source vendors to supply the smart meters, sensors and the network, said Hamilton.
"We're looking to partner with vendors -- telcos and specialist equipment manufacturers — who are interested in how their equipment could fit within the project. This is a long term project for the company so we're not going to leap into anything," he said.
A Smart Grid Jobs Report released recently by the GridWise Alliance says
During the next four years, KEMA’s projection anticipates that a potential disbursement of $16 billion in Smart Grid incentives would act as a catalyst in driving associated Smart Grid1 projects that are worth $64 billion. The impact of these projects would result in the direct creation of approximately 280,000 new positions across various categories, of which more than 150,000 will be created by the end of 2009. Furthermore, we estimate that nearly 140,000 new direct jobs would persist beyond the Smart Grid deployment as permanent, on-going high-value positions.
The indirect jobs, while more difficult to quantify, are substantially larger. Smart Grid is universally understood to be the key enabling technology for the nation's ambitions for renewable energy development, electric vehicle adoption, and energy efficiency improvements.
In the absence of Smart Grid investments, many more hundreds of thousands of jobs in these related sectors will either be deferred or not created due to the inability of the electric infrastructure to incorporate these new technologies. Smart Grid is to the electric energy sector what the Internet was to the communications sector and should be viewed and supported on that basis.
$11 billion in stimulus package delights IBM
IBM loves the stimulus package, CEO Sam Palmisano told President Obama on Wednesday. What IBM likes most about it is the $11 billion to modernize the nation's power grid with "smart grids" and "smart meters." Which just happens to be one of IBM's bigger initiatives these days. It's also a "central focus" of IBM's Venture Capital Group in San Mateo, according to Drew Clark, the group's director of strategy. Working with local companies identified by the venture group, such as San Mateo's eMeter, IBM has already deployed several hundred thousand smart meters in Northern California. It is also working with Redwood City's Silver Springs Networks and others on developing smart grids.
For IBM, it's merely a piece of a much larger vision it calls "Smarter Planet," which involves nothing less than "bring(ing) a new level of intelligence to how the world works - how every person, business, organization, government, natural system and man-made system interacts." The Venture Capital Group is "locked at the hip with
Energy Efficiency and the Stimulus Bill: Show Me the Money
Nowhere in the (Obama stimulus) bill’s language is there anything about 40 million smart meters or 3,000 miles of transmission grid. Granted, these are probably extrapolations of the dollars that ARE in the legislation (that is, “if there are $N billions of dollars for the smart grid, that would pay for X [meters, transmission lines, towers, etc...].”) Where it gets interesting is in the actual dollar calculations. When you factor in the program costs, installation and the meters themselves, 40 million meters (at, reasonably and aggressively, $250 per meter) would cost $10 billion. Nowhere in either the Senate or House version of the bill is there $10 billion allocated exclusively for smart grid meters. What IS allocated is $4.5 billion that can go into programs for the smart grid—of which some percentage could go toward smart meters (but the list of qualifying technologies and projects for the $4.5 billion is fairly large). Some of that $4.5 billion goes toward 50/50 matching grants, so if all of the $4.5 billion was matched, that could equate to $9 billion. If the money was used EXCLUSIVELY for smart meters, then we’d be close to the figure we need to install 40 million smart meters in America.

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