Progress Energy said this morning it is applying for $200 million in federal stimulus funds to help pay for the company's development of Smart Grid technology in the Carolinas and in Florida.
The U.S. Department of Energy is planning to award $4.5 billion in Smart Grid grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. A Smart Grid is an electric transmission and distribution system that provides real-time data to the power company and customers on the customer's energy use and on the cost of power generation at any given instant.
The grid would also be designed to recharge electric cars overnight, when power generation is cheapest. And in the future, the grid could be enhanced to buy electricity back from electric vehicles during times of peak demand, essentially using electric cars as mobile batteries.
Raleigh-based Progress is planning to invest $320 million Smart Grid development. If the $200 million federal grant is approved, it would be split between Smart Grid projects in the Carolinas and Florida.
"It will allow our customers ultimately to have more direct control of their energy use and their bill through pricing signals and pre-pay options," said CEO Bill Johnson. "The end result will be improved system efficiencies, energy conservation and a cleaner environment."
Progress is developing the Smart Grid project with IBM and Telvent, a Spanish information technology company.
Progress has 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida, and about 11,000 employees.