U.S. Unveils Programs to Modernize Electric Grid System

The Obama administration unveiled a series of initiatives to upgrade the nation’s electric grid, including $250 million in loans for so-called smart grid projects in rural areas and steps to secure the grid against cyber attacks. The strategy also calls on state and federal regulators to encourage a shift to smart grid technologies, including advanced meters. Other initiatives include a nonprofit program called Grid 21 promoting consumer tools to reduce energy use while maintaining privacy and security; a new federal team to monitor and support clean energy and transmission line projects nationwide; and a program to share lessons learned from earlier smart-grid investments. Although the announcement of new programs notably did not include much new funding, administration officials called the initiatives a continuation of the $4.5 billion spent on smart-grid projects as part of the federal economic stimulus package.