President Obama will roll out a plan to use $3.4 billion in stimulus funds to modernize the nation’s electrical grid today. The “smart grid” spending will go to private contractors, utilities, and municipal governments in grants of between $400,000 and $2 million. The administration expects $4.7 billion in private investment to match the taxpayer money, and predicts the spending will create tens of thousands of new jobs.
In addition to job creation, the administration has touted likely savings on electricity for consumers, and the mitigation of economic damage caused by power outages, which will be less frequent and easier to fix with a smart grid. New technology will also allow consumers to tap into renewable sources of energy. “The smart grid is something that has a transformational impact on how energy is delivered,” a presidential energy adviser tells Politico. “This is about building more than just miles of wire.”