Progress Energy awarded $200 million in stim. grant

WASHINGTON, D.C. -— U.S. Representatives Bob Etheridge (NC-02), David Price (NC-04), and Brad Miller (NC-13), today applauded an announcement that Progress Energy has been awarded a $200 million grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The federal grant will ensure that North Carolina’s citizens will benefit from the largest single energy grid modernization in U.S. history.

“Smart grid technology will have a positive effect on every part of our economy, our jobs, and our lives,” said Bob Etheridge. “America needs a new 21st Century electricity system to match a 21st Century energy economy and North Carolina’s workers will be on the front lines to ensure it happens.”

The federal award is part of the Administration’s more than $100 billion investment through the Recovery Act for innovation and technology and positions the United States as a world-wide competitor for 21st century new energy production.

“Recovery Act investments are making the Triangle a national leader in efforts to establish a new, clean energy economy,” said David Price. “Energy infrastructure projects like this one will help improve the operation of our nation’s electric grid, reduce energy use, and translate into lower electricity costs for North Carolinians.”

Progress Energy received the maximum federal award for utilities and is expected to create or sustain thousands of jobs. North Carolina’s growing smart energy technology sector leads the nation, and Progress Energy was selected in a highly competitive process. One indication of the state’s growing smart energy leadership is the attention paid to it by members of the Obama Administration.

“Our present electrical grid was designed by Thomas Edison,” said Brad Miller. “It is no disrespect to Edison to revise the grid to apply some of the technology we’ve developed in the last century or so.”

Smart grid technology uses devices like smart meters and load-controllers to give consumers and utilities the ability to manage energy usage and control costs. Using such technology to modernize the aging U.S. electrical grid will save energy, reduce costs and improve reliability. As part of the Recovery Act passed in Feb. 17, 2009, approximately $11 billion was earmarked for smart grid initiatives.

Progress Energy, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 500 energy company with more than 22,000 megawatts of generation capacity. Progress Energy includes two major electric utilities that serve approximately 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida.