There are some nice elements in the smart grid package that the White House rolled out today: a $250 million Agriculture Department loan program to advance grid modernization in rural areas; a collaborative private sector initiative, "Grid 21," to promote consumer-friendly grid tech; Energy Department projects to improve consumer access to energy information. Most interesting perhaps is the creation of an interagency Renewable Energy Rapid Response Team, to "improve Federal coordination and ensure timely review of proposed renewable energy projects and transmission lines."
But in view of the enormity of the jobs to be done, some surveying the administration's press releases and game plan will come away worrying about the location of the beef. Tellingly, the 95-page vision statement issued today by the Cabinet-level National Science and Technology Council contains just two-and-a-half pages under the chapter heading, "Progress Made to Date." Almost all that progress has to do with smart meter installation programs driven by the $10-billion package of grants and loan guarantees in the 2009 recovery bill.
Readers may judge for themselves, starting perhaps with the White House smart grid fact sheet posted today.