Blog Post

Smart Grid Stimulus Demo Award Winners Unveiled!

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has just announced another $620 million in stimulus funds for 32 smart grid demonstration projects. As we explained this morning, this latest funding combined with the $3.4 billion in smart grid stimulus grants allocated last month, is delivering $4 billion to utilities for smart grid technology. Chu said the $620 million will also be matched by $1 billion from the private sector and the investment will “create thousands of new job opportunities.”

What’s really interesting about the funding is that a substantial chunk of the cash is going to next-generation energy storage technology. The 32 projects were broken up into two sections: general smart grid tech and energy storage projects. General smart grid projects received 16 awards worth $435 million and energy storage technology received 16 awards for a total of $185 million. Energy storage tech companies that received grant money include Khosla-backed Berkeley, Calif. based Seeo (which we’ve written about here), a variety of unknown energy storage tech companies including SustainX, 44 Tech, Primus Power Corporation, Ktech, and Amber Kinetics, as well as a project that includes A123Systems (s AONE) batteries. Below is a table of some of the big and interesting winners (the DOE video is meant to show how the smart grid stimulus funds will be used):

Company Type of Firm Amount Received Project Location
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Utility $60.28 million Deploy smart grid tech. Los Angeles, CA
Southern California Edison Utility $40.13 million “Demonstrate an integrated, scalable Smart Grid system that includes all of the interlocking pieces of an end-to-end Smart Grid system.” Irvine, CA
Kansas City Power & Light Company Utility $23.94 million End to end smart grid Kansas City, MO
The Boeing Company Tech firm $8.56 million “Project Boeing SGS: Demonstrating a Cyber Secure, Scalable, Interoperable, and Cost-Effective Smart Selection for Optimizing Regional Transmission System Operation.” St Louis, MO, Sunnyvale, CA, and Huntington Beach, CA
Consolidated Edison Company of New York Utility $45.39 million “Secure Interoperable Open Smart Grid Demonstration in New York and New Jersey.” NY, NJ areas.
AEP Ohio Utility $75.16 million “AEP Ohio gridSMART Demonstration Project” half the state of Ohio
Center for Commercialization of Electric Technologies Electric research group $13.51 million “Manage the fluctuations in wind power in the large Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) transmission grid through better system monitoring capabilities, enhanced operator visualization, and load management.” Houston, TX
Pecan Street Project Smart grid project $10.40 million “Develop and implement an Energy Internet microgrid, located in a large mixed-use infill development site in Austin, Texas.” Austin, TX
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Coop Utiity $33.93 million General smart grid Across 10 southern states.
Battelle Memorial Institute Utility Group $88.82 million General smart grid across 5 states. Northwest
Primus Power Corporation Energy Storage Tech Startup $14 million “Deploy a 25 MW – 75 MWh EnergyFarm for the Modesto Irrigation District in California‚Äôs Central Valley” Alameda, CA; San Ramon, CA; and Modesto, CA
Seeo Battery Startup $6.2 million “Solid State Batteries for Grid-Scale Energy Storage” Berkeley, CA and Van Nuys, CA
Amber Kinetics Energy Storage Firm $4 million “Develop and demonstrate an innovative flywheel technology for use in grid-connected, low-cost bulk energy storage applications.” Fremont, CA
Southern California Edison Utility $4 million “Deploy and evaluate an 8 MW utility-scale lithium-ion battery technology to improve grid performance and aid in the integration of
wind generation into the electric supply.”
Tehachapi, CA
PG&E Utility $25 million “Build and validate the design, performance, and reliability of an advanced, underground 300 MW Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES
plant using a saline porous rock formation located near Bakersfield, CA as the storage reservoir.”
Kern County, CA
Premium Power Corporation Energy Storage Tech Company $7.32 million “Demonstrate competitively-priced, multi-megawatt, long-duration advanced flow batteries for utility grid applications.” Projects in MA, CA and NY
Beacon Power Flywheel Maker $24.06 million “Design, build, test, commission, and operate a utility-scale 20 MW flywheel energy storage frequency regulation plant in Chicago, Illinois, and provide frequency regulation services to the grid operator, the PJM Interconnection. Tyngsboro, MA and Chicago, IL
The Detroit Edison Company Utility $5 million To use A123Systems batteries as energy storage for the power grid. Projects in MI, MA and VA.
SustainX Energy Storage Tech Maker $5.39 million “Design, build, and deploy a utility-scale, low-cost compressed air energy storage system to support the integration of renewable energy sources onto the grid. West Lebanon, NH
44 Tech Energy Storage Tech Maker $5 million “Partner with Carnegie Mellon University to demonstrate a new, low cost, long-life, highly efficient, environmentally friendly, stationary energy storage battery that uses a proven and fully novel cell chemistry.” Pittsburgh, PA
Ktech Corporation Energy Storage Tech Maker $4.76 million “Demonstrate a prototype flow battery system that can be grid connected, charged and discharged, and scaled to utility power levels.” Albuquerque, NM, Sunnyvale, CA and Snelling CA

15 Responses to “Smart Grid Stimulus Demo Award Winners Unveiled!”

  1. The money being spent is largely in support of Utility supply side of the electricity industry, with few outcomes on the Demand side directly benefit energy consumers. Although the billions being spent seem like a lot, even including the 50% match for each grant, the total for the entire “smart grid stimulus” program (SGIG + SGDP, etc.)is less than 5% of the overall investment needed the address the problem of modernizing our electric system. Two or three years from now, this money will have been spent, and energy consumers will see their electricity bills continue to rise – as much as 30% or more. There will be a tremendous political backlash over the issue of “what did we spend all this money for?” (it has already begun in some areas of Texas and California). Still unfinished, this could make it very difficult to complete this important task. While the Smart Grid Stimulus is an excellent idea, its execution should be more balanced to directly involve and benefit energy consumers as well as utilities and energy suppliers. Consumers are the voters who pay the bills, and they deserve more respect, consideration and payback in this process.