Southern Co. is seeking $362 million in Department of Energy smart grid stimulus grants, adding its request to the roughly $2.9 billion in applications for aid from the $3.4 billion Smart Grid Investment Grant Program.
The Atlanta-based utility reported Monday that it is seeking $197 million to accelerate its deployment of smart meters, as well as $165 million to increase automation of its transmission and distribution architecture.
That's among the largest publicly acknowledged requests from DOE's pool of funds for commercial-scale smart grid projects, which have a $200 million cap for individual requests (see Smart Grid Stimulus Applications at $2.85B and Counting).
Texas-based Oncor made a similarly large application for $317 million to support its smart meter and distribution grid automation projects (see Oncor Makes $317M Smart Grid Stimulus Pitch).
Like Oncor and several other utilities, Southern Co. is splitting its requests into those aimed at accelerating existing smart meter deployments, as well as those aimed at improving the monitoring and control of its distribution and transmission systems.
Southern Co.'s smart meter deployments as of May include its subsidiaries Georgia Power, which has deployed 750,000 meters out of a planned 2.16 million, and Alabama Power with 448,000 meters deployed out of a planned 1.2 million meters, according to research firm Parks Associates (see 8.3M Smart Meters and Counting in U.S.).
Southern Co. is also installing smart meters through its Florida and Mississippi subsidiaries, the company reported. It plans to install about 4,000 meters per day and have more than 4 million in place by 2012, and has selected smart meter maker Sensus for the projects.
As for its transmission and distribution grid automation projects, they include line devices to detect outages, systems to isolate trouble areas and restore power automatically and improved monitoring and controls for substations, it said.
The DOE is expected to begin announcing winners of its Smart Grid Investment Grant Program this fall.
Utilities that have announced they're seeking funding from the program include Duke Energy, CenterPoint Energy, Pepco, Baltimore Gas & Electric, Consoldiated Edison, Commonwealth Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, National Grid, NStar, Northeast Utilities, Public Service Electric and Gas Co., PECO, Dominion Virginia Power, FirstEnergyCorp, Ameren Corp, Alliant Energy and Burbank Water & Power (see Green Light post and PG&E Seeks $42.5M in Stimulus Grants).