Is tomorrow the day of reckoning for the smart grid industry in the U.S., when utilities and companies will finally learn whether or not they will receive part of the close to $4 billion in stimulus funds? It’s starting to look like it. According to suggestions from media reports, a planned Department of Energy press briefing tonight and the DOE Secretary Steven Chu’s talk at Google this morning, Tuesday just might be the big day.
The DOE just sent out an email asking press to participate in a call tonight about the “$3.4 billion Recovery Act investment to spur the transition to the Smart Grid,” that they say will be announced tomorrow. Tonight’s DOE call will feature Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser to the Vice President, and Matt Rogers, Senior Advisor for Recovery Act implementation at the DOE, and will focus on how: “Modernizing the grid will create tens of thousands of jobs, save money for consumers and businesses, and allow for the transportation of renewable energy across the nation.”
Reuters has reported that tomorrow morning President Obama, “will announce the largest investment of economic stimulus funds in clean energy,” specifically for the smart grid during a speech in Arcadia, Flor., at the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center. Whether Obama’s speech will detail the winners of the funds or just highlight the program remains unclear, given the awards were originally supposed to be announced in early November. But we’d been hearing lately that the funding announcement could come sometime in October.
DOE Secretary Steven Chu certainly suggested that the smart grid stimulus funding announcement could happen any day now at his speech at Google this morning. In response to a question of when the announcement would be made, Chu answered: “Very very soon.”