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An overview of the 2014 smart grid budget

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Monday, May 06, 2013

After President Barack Obama unveiled his budget proposal for the 2014 fiscal year, GTM research crunched the numbers to find out exactly how much money would be allocated toward a wide range of smart grid efforts, and found that the future looks promising for the sector. 

According to Greentech Media, many expected smart grid technology developments to be a major part of the budget, based on the president's comments during the State of the Union Address. During the February speech, he talked about myriad projects that will focus on upgrading the electric infrastructure, developing self-healing grids and other modernization efforts. 

GTM stated that the budget had a total of $28 billion in funds that would go toward Department of Energy projects, marking an 8 percent increase over the previous year. The group stated that this was "good follow through" of what President Obama discussed during his first term, and suggests the administration is keeping its focus on raising America's credibility as a major user of clean energy and more efficient electric distribution systems. Many of the new projects will be funded with the $4 billion that were cut in oil and gas subsidies, which many agree is a good start, however some critics say it may not have been enough to help build out nationwide intelligent grids.

GTM stated that other areas, such as alternative vehicles and renewable energy sources, certainly need the additional funding, but that smart grid initiatives could have used even more money.

"A key piece of building out a national clean energy strategy is the promotion and incentivization of investment in grid modernization efforts. This is, in fact, foundational," GTM wrote in its analysis of the budget. "We expected to see a much higher allocation of dollars in this area and believe it would make Obama's clean energy strategy much more robust and defensible."

The budget included $153 million that will be spent on further research and development of technologies that will make electricity distribution much more reliable. This will include development of devices that monitor grid activity in real-time, as well as technologies that help spur innovative approaches to improving overall grid functions. 

SUBNET is prepared to handle the influx of smart grid installations and rollouts in the coming years, having developed several solutions and products that make it easier and more efficient to install technologies like substation automation and remote access capabilities.

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