The Dept. of Energy has awarded $3.4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to modernize the electric power grid and boost its efficiency and reliability.

The federal money will be supplemented by more than $4.7 billion in private-sector matching funds, DOE said.

President Obama, announcing the 100 "smart grid investment grants" on Oct. 27 at a Florida Power & Light Co. solar energy facility in Arcadia, Fla., called the spending "the largest-ever investment in a smarter, stronger and more secure electric grid."

Obama said that the present grid "wastes too much energy, it costs us too much money and it's too susceptible to outages and blackouts." The envisioned program will include installation of hundreds of thousands of "smart" meters, plus "phasor measurement" sensors, thermostats, appliances and other equipment.

The smart grid grants fall into six categories. By far the largest is integrated and crosscutting systems ($2.15 billion), followed by advanced metering infrastructure ($818 million). Other categories include customer systems, electric transmission systems, electric distribution systems and equipment manufacturing.

Grant recipients include electric utilities, cooperatives, local power authorities, regional grid organizations, local governments and equipment manufacturers.

Awards range from $397,000 to the Stanton County Public Power District in Nebraska for 2,400 smart meters, computer software, hardware and data collection systems, to $200-million grants to six major utility companies for large grid modernizations and smart-metering installation programs.

The ARRA economic-stimulus legislation provided a total of $4.5 billion to DOE for electricity deliver and energy reliability.

Top 10 DOE 'Smart Grid' Grant Recipients
Company Amount ($ millions)
CenterPoint Energy, Houston 200.0
Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Baltimore 200.0
Duke Energy Business Services LLC, Charlotte, N.C.���� 200.0
Florida Power & Light Co., Miami��� 200.0
Progress Energy Service Co. LLC, Raleigh, N.C.� 200.0
PECO Energy Co., Philadelphia��� 200.0
Southern Company Services Inc., Birmingham, Ala.��� 164.5
Potomac Electric Power Co., Washington, D.C. 149.4*
NV Energy Inc., Las Vegas�������� 138.0
Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc., New York City 136.2
Total Top 10������ 1,788.1
*Two grants: $104.8 million and $44.6 million
Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy