The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Obama administration will today unveil something truly useful for us to do with the nation’s tax dollars. The nation’s power grid has long been in decrepit shape, representing inefficiency, a waste of resources and exposure to widespread brown-outs, power failures and potential terrorist threats. We may finally see some badly needed improvements with a move toward a smart grid.
The Obama administration is expected Tuesday to name 100 utility projects that will share $3.4 billion in federal stimulus funding to speed deployment of advanced technology designed to cut energy use and make the electric-power grid more robust.
When combined with funds from utility customers, the program is expected to inject more than $8 billion into grid modernization efforts nationally, administration officials said.
“We have a very antiquated system that we need to upgrade,” said Carol Browner, energy coordinator for the Obama administration.
With the deployment of smart, digital meters at homes and businesses around the nation, controlled energy usage and the ability to prepare for peak demand periods should enhance both system reliability and efficiency. The introduction of smarter transformers across the grid will also allow for monitoring of failures before a catastrophic domino effect takes down large sections of the country.
Frankly, I’m a bit skeptical over the number of new jobs this will actually create or how “stimulative” it will really be. But the nation’s power grid is obviously interstate in nature and a fitting place for the federal govt. to spend our tax dollars to make improvements which are tangible and needed. I haven’t seen much from the Obama administration thus far to applaud in terms of domestic spending, but my hat is off to them on this one. Everyone talks about the power grid during election season, but then it always seems to be forgotten once the polls close. It’s good to see Obama carrying through on this frequently overlooked campaign talking point.