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

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 outages.

“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   “Investing in Smart Grid technology will not just make needed upgrades to our outdated energy infrastructure; it will put money back into the pockets of Oregonians.” 

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 Oregon.

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 technology.

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.