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Obama touts smart grid grants

By Michael A. Fletcher
ARCADIA, Fla. -- President Obama announced Tuesday $3.4 billion in grants for "smart meters," updated transformers, and other devices that he called the largest energy grid modernization investment in the nation's history.

The federal money, which was part of the $787 billion economic stimulus package, will pay for a broad range of technologies aimed at making the nation's power transmission system more efficient, reliable and adaptable to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

Speaking in front of some of the solar cells that make up nation's largest solar to electricity plant here, Obama said the investment is long overdue and he called it essential to ushering in a future of clean, renewable energy.

"There's something big happening in America in terms of creating a clean-energy economy," Obama said.

Obama said a modern grid could give consumers better control over their electricity usage and costs, and spur development of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

The current electrical grid still "runs on century-old technology," Obama said, adding that the upgrades will allow it to be "more secure and more reliable."

The grants have been awarded to 100 different utilities and other businesses, cities, which in turn have promised to spend another $4.7 billion in private money on the so-called "smart grid." Before making his remarks, Obama toured the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which includes 180 acres of solar cells stretched across open fields. The plant is designed to generate enough power for about 3,000 homes, according to Florida Power & Light, the local electric company.

Obama's appearance here was part of the administration's effort to showcase the job-producing potential of the economic stimulus plan, which has come under harsh criticism from Republicans and other critics who call it ineffective as the nation's unemployment rate has climbed to 9.8 percent.

The administration is counting on the renewable energy sector to be a huge source of jobs in the future as the nation emerges from its deep recession. In his remarks, Obama said the electrical grid spending would create tens of thousands of new jobs for factory workers, installers, system designers and others.

In Delaware, Vice President Biden Tuesday celebrated plans to reopen a shuttered General Motors plant in Wilmington to produce long-range, plug-in, electric hybrid vehicles.

The Wilmington plant will be used by luxury automaker Fisker to produce the cars, a venture that is fueled by a $529 million Energy Department loan and is expected to create 2,000 factory jobs and as many as 3,000 support jobs.

"While some wanted to write off America's auto industry, we said no. We knew that we needed to do something different -- in Delaware and all across the nation," Biden said. "We understood a new chapter had to be written, a new chapter in which we strengthen American manufacturing by investing in innovation."

Administration officials envision plug-in hybrids and other electric vehicles becoming a key cog in the nation's developing smart grid. Smart meters will allow car owners to charge their vehicles when electricity demand and prices are lowest and also when power from intermittent renewable resources like wind and solar are more available. Ultimately, consumers might be able to sell an unneeded portion of the battery's charge back to the grid.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 27, 2009; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Energy  
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Thank goodness we have a leader who has vision for the future needs of America and the resolve to do something about it. Barack Obama is a great President who cares about the people he was elected to serve and the future of the Country. The Afghan war and the war in Iraq were started under the Republican administration and left as a big corrupt mess for President Obama to fix. He is doing a good job of it and we are at least out of Iraq which was a totally pointless war to begin with. He is working on Afghanistan and has managed to nudge and help Pakistan see the light and go after the worst of the terrorists. He has the Iranians talking and considering sending their nuclear material to Russia to process for peaceful purposes instead of bombs, time will tell but it is better than the do nothing Bush approach. Oh and he has a NOBEL prize that shows what the world thinks of him instead of the Bush prize of a shoe being thrown at him. And thank goodness he cares about the health care of the people who elected him instead of the "Let them eat cake" attitude of the Republican party who led by (Rush?) are seeming to be mean spirited and condemning with no vision of their own for the future.

Posted by: jrhorer8 | October 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

There is no question that the power grid is a good thing ...for the long run...
But do NOT expect instant jobs from this. First (as in the first stimulus bill), "feasability" studies are required, then the necessary "permitting" is required, all necessary purchasing of lands, etc. must be all, it will take up to two years before any "shovel ready" work can be started. (Just in time for the next elections.)
In the meantime, the unemployment rate stands at 10%, it may go even higher, and this president is clueless in providing immediate JOBS for the unemployed.
He still has not made up his mind on Afghanistan, the Iranians continue their goal on nuclear weapons...the list goes on and on...
What a disaster!

Posted by: SeniorVet | October 28, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

So, as a consumer, it boils down to this: so many homes are foreclosed that the energy CORPS cant make a proft. So why not install grindo-meters in the homes that are occupied and micro-scam these pesants by the second. Way to go Obama. All I see is another fancy funnel for the business world.

Posted by: yangpu61 | October 28, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Obama finally asked the caddie how does this golf cart work so quietly. The caddie told him and Obama thought it over and today's announcement came out of that meeting. The caddie is now the energy Czar.

Posted by: mharwick | October 27, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama finally may have stumbled on a good idea. Electric cars and parking meters are the way of the future. He even mentioned Nuclear Power for a change. The French get 80% of their power from Nuclear. He still is backward on drilling. He could have done so much more to create jobs like full court press on high speed trains interstate and intrastate instead of the meager 8 billion or so.
The bad of Obama far outweighs the good however and he must be defeated at the polls along with his one party Congress.

Posted by: mharwick | October 27, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

we need a smart grid and to bury those lines carrying energy the trouble with this scheme is probably 3/4 of it will disappear into the fabric and out of sight and into Uncle Louie's back pocket as it does in Jersey and Boston.

Posted by: Timray18 | October 27, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Cool! Billions more in gov't giveaways. Maybe after golf he can find time to decide whether to sheet or get off the pot re: Afghanistan.

Posted by: j9zig1 | October 27, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

maxtel19010 said: "He's really behind the times. Instead of a new and bigger pie, he's obsessed with how big slice everyone gets from the old one. He's an idiot."

How can you possibly say that Obama is 'behind the times' in the same breadth that you say 'tax coal less than crude oil . . '??? Talk about being stuck with the old pie! While there are some legitimate criticisms regarding converting to solar technology, being stuck in the past is hardly one of them. And then you go calling others an idiot after a statement like that!

Posted by: tomguy1 | October 27, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

From all of the insults coming from the KNRW (know nothing right wingnuts I conclude that they think it will be good for the country. They of course hope that Obama fails.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 27, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Based on those stats, all we need to do is find a nice 6.6 million acre plot of land and create a nice solar field!!!
California is in the crapper, so why not use part of it!!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | October 27, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, he's just so brilliant!! After all, he keeps telling everyone that!! Seems that's the common denominator with Libs!! They think they are all so smart when the facts say otherwise!!
I remember when the libs, and in particular Kerry himself, were stating how much smarter he was than Bush!!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | October 27, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree that our power grid needs to be modernized and upgraded. However, as is typical with any program rolled out by liberals, there is an ample amount of government control over personal freedom hidden inside the details of this feel good program.

It includes, in this initial shot of printed money borrowed from the Chinese, for instance, "170,000 smart thermostats that utilities and their customers can toggle remotely or automatically." (Source: Note that the remote thermostat control is also available to your utility. This is one of the primary aims of the so-called "smart grid." It has long been a goal of enviro nuts to have central control over the nation's energy use. Smart grid is the not the back door to this objective, but the front door.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | October 27, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Bush II was just plain stupid Obama is just plain clueless.
He needs to get a grip on reality, stay put and get the job done.
He is spending money we do not have, not willing to raise taxes or ask anyone to sacrifice for anything. There is no more time for a free lunch.

Posted by: KBlit | October 27, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama is all over the map on issues. Is he ADS or what? I'll not asking -- I'm telling him -- stop the traveling and stop procrastinating on Afghanistan! We need a new leader in the White House.

Posted by: 45upnorth | October 27, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama is all over the map on issues. Is Obama ADS or what? Shouldn't he be concentrating on Afghanistan? After all we've lost so many soldiers while he procratinates.

Posted by: 45upnorth | October 27, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

What's the biggest threat to America’s power grid?


Posted by: MikeLicht | October 27, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Barack-the-taxpayer venture-capitalist. Pay no attention to results.

Posted by: NoWeCant | October 27, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Amercians complain about the status quo, and also complain about any change. You want freedom from oil, but complain when steps are taking in that direction. When you have a country of 350 millions people, some people are going to be unhappy. Keep up the good work Mr. President, clean technology is very important and we should be leading the world in it.

Posted by: DrWho2 | October 27, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I can understand the Right Wing frustration with Obama. Afterall, he is not an ignorant, incompetent, know-nothing, which is what the right in this country reveres. Of course, after eight years of incompetent, criminal and deceitfiul governance at the hands of the GOP, the Obama presidency is a bit disorienting. I love seeing the wingnuts squirm!

Posted by: raqualung | October 27, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

There is little controversial here, yet the Right Wingnut wackos like to take off and spew ad hominem attacks on Obama at every turn. The fact that they cannot discern what it is they disapprove of, except Obama himself, is enlightening. Scary, ideological nutjobs these right wingers are, yes indeedy...

Posted by: raqualung | October 27, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

clean energy for the rich subsidized by the poor

Posted by: Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief | October 27, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Barry is an Idiot

Posted by: FraudObama | October 27, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The Clueless One is getting warmer. American needs jobs and a growing economy. Instead of his union payback "stimulus" or his take over of healthcare, he should have gone for energy independence first: massive tax deductions for insulating and modernizing homes, solar, Wind and yes nuclear. Throw in mass transit bus, rail and light rail. Encourage localities to reduce sprawl. Cap and Trade as well. Tax carbon to make alternatives more competitive. Tax coal less than crude oil and it's by products. Instead he's stuck in the New Deal class warfare that his Left Bank mind just can't let go of. He's really behind the times. Instead of a new and bigger pie, he's obsessed with how big slice everyone gets from the old one. He's an idiot.

Posted by: maxtel1910 | October 27, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see how these solar panels hold up against a severe thunderstorm or hurricane!!!!!!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | October 27, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

our troops are dying and this fool is looking at solar panels?

Posted by: pofinpa | October 27, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it an oxymoron for dumb Barry to talk about anything "smart?"

Posted by: Jerzy | October 27, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: infantry11b4faus | October 27, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse


Some scientists believe that the technology being used to deploy powerful, silent microwave and laser directed energy weapons -- called "scalar electromagnetics" -- could produce an infinite supply of cheap energy...

...if this technology was not being shrouded under classified black ops programs that reportedly are producing horrific silent weapons of either mass or individual destruction. See:

This technology has been turned against unjustly targeted American citizens in a nationwide attack system, reported to include microwave transmitters camouflaged as well towers and a variety of portable and hand-held weaponry.

And these weapons are being used against political enemies -- as recently disclosed by the deposed president of Honduras:


Posted by: scrivener50 | October 27, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice if the gov threw some grant money in the direction of either consumers or manufacturers, to bring down the costs of the technologies. But I'm sure the power companies wouldn't appreciate it.

Posted by: ExHerndonRes | October 27, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing this won;t be Obama's last visit to Florida before 2012...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | October 27, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

A good very, very good, very, very small step in the right direction. The project visited by President Obama will provide the energy needed by 3,000 homes in our country of 300 Million people. In Seville, Spain there is one project alreaady working that produces the energy needed by 300,000 homes. nd that is only one of many, many, many renewable energy projects already up and running in Spain. By-the-way, Spain´s population: 40 Million people.

Posted by: superiorovo | October 27, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

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