The U.S. Energy Dept. has awarded $3.4 billion for “smart-grid investment grants” to modernize the electric power network and boost its efficiency and reliability. The 100 federal grants, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will be supplemented by more than $4.7 billion from the private sector, DOE says. The program will include installation of hundreds of thousands of “smart” meters, “phasor measurement” sensors and other equipment. Among the six smart-grid grant categories, integrated and crosscutting systems will receive $2.15 billion and advanced metering infrastructure projects $818 million.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.