Many attempts to use dashboards to show energy consumption data and get consumers to conserve energy use have failed miserably. Will a startup’s idea of using a digital photo frame to broadcast the data make a difference?
Utilities, tech vendors and trade groups like the Grid Wise Alliance have openly been complaining that it’s taking too long for the billions of dollars in smart grid grants, which the Department of Energy promised back in October, to reach the projects, and ultimately create jobs. Well, it looks like the dam has been broken, albeit for a small project. Municipal utility Glendale Water and Power announced Thursday that it has signed a contract to start the flow of $20 million in DOE smart grid grants and according to Craig Kuennen, Glendale’s smart grid program sponsor, it’s the first such contract signed in the country. “That’s what DOE told us,” Kuennen said to us Thursday.
Earlier in the day, we cited Florida Power & Light CEO, Lewis Hay III, saying that the utility hadn’t “seen a dime” of its $200 million smart grid grant — a complaint that’s been echoed by other smart grid industry insiders we’ve spoken to in the past weeks. Trade group the Grid Wise Alliance sent letters to Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and DOE General Counsel Scott Harris last month that said “[A] significant amount of time has passed without substantive progress being made towards the start of projects and the intended creation of jobs.”
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