The Dept. of Energy has selected 32 pilot projects to receive $620 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act aid to evaluate new technologies aimed at making the electricity network more efficient. The private sector is contributing more than $1 billion in matching funds for those projects.

The “smart grid” awards, announced on Nov. 24, include $435.2 million for 16 regional grid projects and $184.8 million for 16 energy-storage projects. The largest grant is $88.8 million to Battelle Memorial Institute for a five-state project in the Pacific North­west. DOE hopes the projects will lead to more extensive applications. In October, DOE awarded $3.4 billion in ARRA funds for other modernizations to the electric grid.