Glendale Water & Power (GWP) signed a contract for a $20 million federal Smart Grid Investment Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), becoming the first city in the nation to receive smart grid funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The grant will help GWP fund implementation of $51 million for the California city’s AMI-Smart Grid Initiative. The first significant milestone will be a demonstration of the smart meters portion of the project this spring. The demonstration project will include the installation of a meter data management system, 1,000 electric meters, 500 water meters and 300 in-home displays, with plans to have all meters replaced by September 2011.

In addition to replacing all electric and water meters with new smart meters, receipt of the $20 million in DOE grant funds will allow GWP to expand the project scope and accelerate implementation to include distribution automation, new enterprise data storage systems, residential and small business smart grid devices, thermal energy storage, demand response, and expanded Wi-Fi backhaul.

Receipt of the DOE grant comes with a number of obligations and significant level of transparency to ensure the public’s money is properly managed and produces results and the public is fully aware every step of the way. GWP is working with the DOE to provide a detailed plans for cyber security, project execution, metric and benefits, and consumer behavior.

The benefits of Glendale’s “shovel-ready” AMI-Smart Grid Initiative includes reduced carbon emissions, improved system reliability, enhanced security, theft and tampering deterrence and detection, and support for electric vehicles and smart appliances. The project will result in the local hiring of about 40 meter installers by the installation contractor and the projection of about 600 jobs nationwide.