Merkley, Wyden Announce $29.4 Million for Oregon Smart Grid Technology and Job Creation

Washington D.C.
– U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron
Wyden announced today that the Department of Energy has awarded over $29.4 million
in Recovery Act funds for Oregon Smart Grid technology.  The funds will be
used to make Oregon’s electric system more energy efficient, enable consumers
to reduce their energy consumption and restore power more quickly after

“One of the best ways we can
use Recovery Act funds is to create jobs by making our electric system energy
efficient and more reliable for consumers,” said Merkley.  
“Investing in Smart Grid technology will not just make needed upgrades to our
outdated energy infrastructure; it will put money back into the pockets of

These recovery act funds will create jobs in rural Oregon
by allowing utility companies to upgrade their electric systems with 21st Century technology,” Wyden said. “These projects will make those electrical
systems more energy efficient and help control consumer utility bills at the
same time.  I’m pleased that folks in rural areas will benefit from the
most up-to-date technology.”

Senators Merkley and Wyden wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu earlier
this year encouraging him to award Smart Grid Investment Grant funding to

The funding awarded by the Department of Energy is part of
the single largest investment in Smart Grid technology in history.  In
addition to the $3.4 billion in Recovery Act funds, $8 billion in matching
funds from private-public investments will be distributed throughout the
country.  Smart Grid technology enables detailed monitoring and management
of electricity usage, so consumers and utilities can more efficiently manage
how and when they use electricity.  

Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative—Portland, OR– $19,577,326
Funds will be used to implement a smart grid system, including more than
95,000 smart meters, substation equipment and load management devices.

Central Lincoln People’s Utility District—Newport, OR — $9,849,450
Funds will be used to provide two-way communication between
the utility and its customers and deploy smart grid communication and control

The American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act invests billions in upgrading our nation’s transportation infrastructure, promoting the development and production of clean energy, and
repairing public buildings to immediately create or save jobs.  The legislation
cuts taxes for 95 percent of workers and their families, including tax credits
of $400 per worker or $800 per family.  Finally, a third component of the
bill provides vital funding for states to prevent state layoffs and ensure the
continuation of important health, education and housing services.