The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced its Smart Grid Investment Grant Program, which will provide grants, ranging from $500,000 to $20 million, for smart grid technology deployments. It also will provide grants of $100,000 to $5 million for the deployment of grid-monitoring devices. The program provides matching grants up to 50 percent for investments planned by electric utilities and other entities to deploy smart grid technologies. The program will use a competitive, merit-based process to select qualified projects to receive funding.

Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to, electric utilities, companies that distribute or sell electricity, organizations that coordinate or control grid operations, appliance and equipment manufacturers, and firms that wish to install smart grid technology. The DOE will use feedback gained from its Notice of Intent public comment period to finalize the grant program structure and subsequent solicitation.

Additionally, the DOE is making available $615 million for smart grid demonstration projects that fall within one of three areas: technology viability, energy storage and grid monitoring. Smart grid regional demonstrations will quantify smart grid costs and benefits, verify technology viability and examine new business models. Utility-scale energy storage demonstrations can include technologies such as advanced battery systems, ultra-capacitors, flywheels, compressed air energy systems, wind and photovoltaic integration and grid-congestion relief.

Grid-monitoring demonstrations will support the installation and networking of multiple high-resolution, time-synchronized grid-monitoring devices, called phasor measurement units, that allow transmission system operators to see and, therefore, influence electric flows in real time.