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If anyone was wondering what the Obama Administration wanted to see from utilities and companies building the country’s smart grid, here’s a document for you to read. The White House released its “Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid” (PDF) this morning, laying out just what the President would like to do to boost grid modernization in the future — besides directing another $4.5 billion in federal stimulus grants toward the industry, of course. With Congress now deadlocked against any more stimulus, what can the President do to boost the industry further? Well, for one, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has some rural utility funding authority, and plans to make up to $250 million in loans available to rural grid improvements. Beyond that, there’s a new pledge to speed up permitting for transmission and clean energy projects on the part of the Departments of Energy and Interior, a new federal-industry best practices coordination effort to have its own Web site (, and a new non-profit program called Grid 21 to try to get consumers more interested in energy saving. For not being able to spend a lot of money, I suppose that’s pretty good.