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DOE releases report on smart grid benefits of Recovery Act

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In a time when the U.S. government is having to decide on the best places to allocate money or suffer the consequences, it appears officials are increasingly understanding that some of the best ROI can be found in the smart grid sector. 

A recent report from the Department of Energy, titled "Economic Impact of Recover Act Investment in the Smart Grid," focuses on the returns that have been seen in the smart grid sector, when millions of dollars were allocated as per the terms of the act. The analysis concluded that smart grid projects funded solely by the ARRA resulted in $7 billion in economic output, creating about 50,000 jobs all the while. All told, the sector brought in about $1 billion in taxes. 

"It is clear from this analysis that Smart Grid ARRA funding, alongside active financial and material participation by utilities, high tech companies, and their labor forces, generates a markedly positive impact on the U.S. economy," the report states. "Given the Nature of Smart Grid projects, follow-on investments funded by state and private sector sources are likely to have a similar positive impact profile."

According to The Energy Collective, the smart grid portion of the ARRA saw strong ROI, even amid an economy that was shaky for years. The DOE stated that almost $3 billion led to more than $6.83 billion in economic output - an ROI of about 2-to-1. But the benefits didn't stop there. The DOE believes ARRA smart grid projects also contributed $4.18 billion to the U.S.' gross domestic product. This makes smart grid GDP's multiplier the highest among all government spending. Essentially, every $1 million of direct smart grid spending leads to another $2.5 to $2.6 million for the economy. 

Stable jobs, high salaries
When taking a closer look at the report, the news source noted that smart grid investments created such a flurry of economic activity for a few key reasons. First, jobs in the sector are relatively stable. Second, they often pay higher than other positions. Last, every job created in the sector often has a trickle down effect that leads to jobs among several supply chains in other sectors. 

To break it down, the group compared the growth to job numbers and wages. Since the investments, about 47,000 smart grid-related jobs have been created or saved.

SUBNET is prepared for the explosive growth in the smart grid sector, and is helping utilities as they introduce thousands of intelligent electronic devices into their current distribution infrastructure. 

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