About a year ago, the Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability put out a notice seeking applications from companies developing smart grid technologies.The grant program is part of a larger initiative at DoE - Smart Grid 2030 - aimed at building up the nation's ailing power grid. A major component of this program is support for physical infrastructure. Just today, the Long Island Power Authority announced it had deployed the country's first commercial high tension superconducting transmission cable, backed by $27.5 million from the DoE's ED/ER group. But now DoE wants to move into some of the softer, backend technology, which it calls Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration (RSDI). We know it's really just a fancy way for consumers to TiVo their Netflix queue through their JDate profile on Twitter using wind turbines. Kevin Kolevar, assistant secretary for ED/ER, announced recently the DoE will invest $50 million over the next five years in smart grid and grid efficiency technologies, with the aim of reducing peak demand load by 15 percent at key distribution points. The DoE program will fund - subject to approval by Congress - research projects in New York, California, West Virginia, Illinois, Nevada, Hawaii, and Colorado backed by private sector, university, and public groups like San Diego Gas & Electric, GE, the University of Hawaii, NREL, Rocky Mountain Power, and Exelon, among others. Interesting to note, though, that none of the projects involve recent VC big money earners like GridPoint, Silver Spring Networks, eMeter or Ambient.