Commission Supports California’s Utilities Receiving Approximately $ 118 million in Recovery Act Funding for Smart Grid After the issuance of the Rulemaking, Congress passed the Recovery Act which appropriated $4.5 billion “to modernize the electric grid” through activities including the Smart Grid programs authorized by EISA.2 The Smart Grid funding provided by the Recovery Act created an opportunity for California to expand and accelerate its activities to modernize the state’s electric infrastructure at a significantly lower cost to ratepayers. The Recovery Act directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to create a competitive process to distribute the funds to projects that met the DOE requirements. DOE created an application process whereby utilities, or other groups, could apply for a portion of the available funds allocated to DOE for this program. As part of the application process, DOE required that projects that had ensured 50% funding would receive greater consideration and if approved the Recovery Act would fund the remaining 50%. In order to allow California’s utilities to submit a competitive application to DOE, in September 2009 (D.09-09-029) the Commission approved processes and policies to align the timeline of the Commission’s review of investor-owned utility Smart Grid projects with the DOE’s rapid timeline for reviewing and granting awards for projects.
On November 24, 2009, DOE announced that California would receive approximately $186 million in Federal Stimulus funding for eight Smart Grid and Energy Storage demonstration projects. Four investor-owned utility projects were submitted for funding consideration for this round of awards and three were selected. Overall, California received 30 percent of the $620 million that DOE awarded for Smart Grid and Storage Demonstrations.
2 The Recovery Act, Section 2, Division A, Title IV, Energy and Water Development states: “For an additional amount for ‘Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability,’ $4,500,000,000: Provided, That funds shall be available for expenses necessary for electricity delivery and energy reliability activities to modernize the electric grid, to include demand responsive equipment, enhance security and reliability of the energy infrastructure, energy storage research, development, demonstration and deployment, and facilitate recovery from disruptions to the energy supply, and for implementation of programs authorized under title XIII of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) (42 U.S.C. 17381 et seq.) … ”