Leahy, Sanders And Welch Announce Nearly $69 Million To Launch Smart Grid Technology In Vermont

. . . Meeting With Energy Secretary Helped Make Vermont’s Case

WASHINGTON -- The Vermont Congressional Delegation - Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) - announced Tuesday morning that Vermont Transco, LLC, will receive $68,928,650 in federal support to launch Vermont's Smart Grid technology.  The funds are part of $3.4 billion in Smart Grid grants across the nation that President Obama announced today - the largest awards made in a single day from this year's American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. 

Vermont's plan - called eEnergy Vermont - is a blueprint for using Smart Grid technology to create jobs and boost efficiency and energy conservation, while facilitating the drive to expand broadband internet access throughout Vermont.  This project will create a real-time link between generators, transmitters and consumers of energy by expanding the deployment of Vermont smart meters from the current 28,000 to 300,000, implementing customer systems such as in-home displays and digitally controlled appliances, secure control systems for substations and generation facilities, and automating the electric distribution and transmission system grids.  In September, the Vermont Delegation sent a strong letter of support for Vermont's proposal to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  Leahy followed up by organizing a meeting that the Vermont Delegation had with Secretary Chu in Leahy's Capitol Hill office on Oct. 7. 

Vermont's Congressional Delegation, members of Governor Jim Douglas' administration, representatives of Vermont's Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery, and leaders of all of Vermont's electricity providers cooperated to draft the grant application.  The delegation stressed the importance of this type of cooperation in the application's success. 

Leahy said, "As a milestone for Vermont's infrastructure, this ranks alongside rural electrification and the telecommunications revolution.  The benefits of this investment will ripple through our economy and our energy system and will clearly support Vermont businesses, consumers, and our environment.  Vermont's determination to be a leader in this new era will create jobs and foster cleaner, smarter energy."  Leahy is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

"This is an opportunity for Vermont once again to lead the nation in energy efficiency and in developing a greener economy.  These investments help move our state and our nation toward energy independence and will create many good-paying jobs," said Sanders, chairman of the Senate Green Jobs and the New Economy Subcommittee.  "Smart Grid technologies improve reliability and service quality while allowing consumers more control over energy use."  

Welch, a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said, "This transformative grant is a tremendous vote of confidence in Vermont and its national leadership in energy policy. Smart Grid technology will put Vermonters in charge of their energy use and empower them to reduce their electric bills through more efficient energy consumption.  Its deployment will create jobs, spur the economy and provide a major boost to Vermont's growing renewable energy field."

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The Vermont Delegation with Secretary Chu from the Oct. 7 meeting in Senator Leahy’s office: