Judging from a DOE analysis of smart grid projects, spending on Smart Grid Investment Grants and Smart Grid Demonstration Programs is more than paying off. As of March 2012, the $2.9 billion spent on projects has yielded a total economic output of $6.8 billion.

Also, the analysis indicated that high tech, industrial and service businesses usually involved in smart grid projects record higher than average labor income and boost job numbers in the economy through “indirect and induced mechanisms.”

The report, Economic Impact of Recovery Act Investments in the Smart Grid, assesses the economic effects of immediate spending, not long-term impacts, and includes employment, total labor income and economic output.

Some of the key findings include:

  • About 47,000 full-time equivalent jobs were supported by the investment grants and demonstration programs
  • Of those jobs, about 12,000 in manufacturing, IT and technical services were directly supported while the remainder were in the companies’ supply chains and induced by money spent throughout the broader economy
  • Industrial sectors that benefited directly include computer systems design, technical and scientific services and consulting, electrical/wireless equipment and component manufacturing
  • The smart grid GDP multiplier is higher than it is in many other forms of government investment
  • For every $1 million in direct spending (including both Recovery Act and private sector matching), the GDP rose by $2.5 to $2.6 million depending on the circumstances

The report notes that ongoing follow-up investments paid for by states, ratepayers and the private sector are likely to have a similar positive economic effect and are expected to continue generating high tech and professional jobs as the grid modernization initiative continues.

By Smart Grid News