DTE Energy, White House Tout Economic Impact of Smart Grid Grants
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DTE Energy chief says $83 million grant will accelerate program in Michigan DETROIT, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The economic impact of nearly $170 million spent to bring high tech energy service to Michigan over the next two years will provide jobs and needed spending in Michigan's economy, said Anthony F. Earley, Jr., DTE Energy chairman and CEO. Earley was joined at a news conference today by Edward Montgomery, executive director, White House Council on Auto Communities and Workers, who touted the latest round of grants under the federal economic stimulus program. DTE Energy will receive $83 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to accelerate its SmartCurrents program over the next two years. The grant will be matched by DTE Energy and its technology partners. During 2010 and 2011, Detroit Edison and MichCon will install 660,000 new "smart" meters in portions of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, Lapeer, Ingham and Tuscola counties. These meters will serve as the technological backbone for the SmartCurrents program. "We estimate the accelerated startup of the SmartCurrents program will result in the creation of 700 deployment and construction jobs for IT contractors and overhead linemen, and 350 permanent positions for suppliers to this effort," Earley said. "This estimate does not include second tier or pull-through opportunities created with an increase in local production and commercial growth of this technology. There are environmental benefits, too. By reducing our vehicle use related to meter reading, we'll also cut our carbon emissions and fuel consumption." The SmartCurrents program is DTE Energy's contribution to the nation's Smart Grid, which uses the latest technologies across the country's electric system to allow consumers to make choices that save them money and improve the environment. "The combined effect of our $3.4 billion investment, when the projects are fully implemented, will create thousands of jobs, including higher paying career opportunities for smart meter manufacturing workers, make the grid more reliable and empower consumers to cut their electricity bills," Montgomery said. "We estimate these improvements will reduce electricity demand by 1,400 megawatts, and put us on a path to get 20 percent or more of our energy from renewable resources by 2020." SmartCurrents will provide customers with improved electric service reliability, the distribution of smart appliances and ways to control and reduce energy consumption and costs. The new metering part of the program will serve as a platform to eliminate manual meter reading and provide remote monitoring of the electric distribution system, which will enable faster and more reliable power outage detection and restoration. DTE Energy also would have the ability to connect meters remotely. The program will enable customers to manage their bills by tracking their consumption and demand via the DTE Energy Web site. As the program implementation proceeds, every electric meter in Southeast Michigan would be replaced with solid state meters and every gas meter would be modified with an advanced metering module. Customers will be notified when meter changes are scheduled in their communities during the next several years. The SmartCurrents program, besides advanced metering technology, includes Smart Circuit and Smart Home technologies. Smart Home would provide different pricing levels to incentivize off-peak electrical usage, web-based customer energy usage presentation and customer outage notification. In addition, certain "smart" appliances could communicate with DTE Energy to provide optimum energy savings. As a result of the DOE funding, DTE Energy will have the opportunity to offer Smart Home technology with in-home displays and high tech thermostats to 5,000 customers, and make improvements to 11 substations and 55 circuits over the next two years. DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, coal and gas midstream, unconventional gas production and energy trading. Information about DTE Energy is available at www.dteenergy.com. SOURCE DTE Energy Scott Simons, +1-313-235-8808, or Len Singer, +1-313-235-8809, both of DTE Energy
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