Another day, another big American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to bolster some form of green technology development. This time around we’ve gotten word that FirstEnergy, a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio, will be drawing upon $57.4 million in federal dollars to build out smart grid technologies in targeted areas of its Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey service territories.
FirstEnergy said the grants it received, which were first awarded in October 2009, “will help determine the potential to enhance the operating performance of the local distribution system, and provide incentives to customers to reduce energy use and participate in demand response programs.” In its York, Pa., area served by Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed), FirstEnergy will develop a 23,000-customer strong voluntary load-control program that “will help reduce peak demand through an integrated system that directly controls air conditioners and other customer appliances during periods of high usage.” In its Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) service area, meanwhile, it will expand an already in place smart grid deployment that is a similar voluntary control program involving more than 20,000 New Jersey customers that “has the potential to reduce peak load by 30 megawatts.”
FirstEnergy added that its Ohio smart grid program is currently on hold, pending approval there from the state’s utility commission. The Pennsylvania and Jersey programs federal funding grants “will be matched by funding already approved for recovery over time by utility commissions” as well.
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