Duke Energy has signed an agreement to receive $204 million in ARRA stimulus funds from the Department of Energy for smart grid projects. $200 million of this will be for distribution smart grid projects, and $4 million for digital equipment for Duke's transmission system. Reportedly, Duke intends to spend about $1 billion over the next five years for smart meters, distribution automation equipment, and communications infrastructure.
For Duke, smart grid means it can better manage its electric system. It will be able to automatically detect changes in demand, supply and quality. Smart grid will enable more renewable energy usage, so it will mean reduced carbon emissions and cleaner air. For Duke's customers, smart grid means more reliable service, quicker response to outages, and new information and tools to help them better manage their energy use. As an example, in June 2009 Duke's first “self healing” smart network was turned on. On June 23 a tree fell across some power lines. The intelligent network automatically diagnosed the problem and rerouted power. Duke estimates that 1,500 customers avoided a sustained power outage. Only the customers directly served by the downed lines went without power for a sustained period. On Sept. 1, Duke Energy turned on its second self-healing network.
Last month CenterPoint Energy signed an agreement with the Department of Energy Department for a $200 million stimulus grant for smart meters and other systems. Recently Progress Energy accepted a $200 million grant to implement smart grid technologies. A total of six utilities each received $200 million, the maximum under the ARRA.