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Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks on Recovery Act Smart Grid Investments, As Prepared

As prepared for delivery.

The Recovery Act has provided crucial support to millions of Americans and their families during some very difficult times. It provided a crucial middle-class tax cut for people who needed it most, and helped fill the gaps for states and local areas struggling to balance their budgets.

Through all that, it has started to pull our country out of the worst economic downturn since World War II. We still have a long way to go. But today we stand on much firmer ground than we did a year ago.

We are rebuilding a foundation for prosperity – not just providing a shot in the arm, but ensuring that our economy is prepared to lead in the 21st century, and that the next generation has what they need to thrive. And a cornerstone of that new foundation for prosperity is the growth of a clean energy economy.

When the Recovery Act was passed earlier this year, it represented the strongest clean energy investment in our history. We know that this is the global growth industry of the 21st century. If we seize this moment, we can create millions of jobs – good jobs that can’t be sent overseas. We can secure both our economic security and our national security by significantly reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. And we can protect the planet for our children’s future.

To build a 21st Century clean energy economy, we need a smart, strong, secure electricity delivery system. That’s why yesterday President Obama announced 100 grants totaling $3.4 billion to private companies, utilities, cities and other partners to help build a nationwide smart energy grid. Those investments will benefit consumers in 49 states and the District of Columbia by supporting a stronger, more reliable grid. And that includes the Tarheel State.

I’m proud to announce today one of those investments – a grant of $200 million in Smart Grid technology made in partnership with Progress Energy. Progress Energy will provide another $320 million investment for a total of more than half a billion dollars in Smart Grid innovation for North Carolina.

Now – this is the Recovery Act, so this also means new jobs. In North Carolina and across the nation, the awards are expected to create tens of thousands of new jobs – high paying career opportunities for smart meter manufacturing workers; engineering technicians, electricians and equipment installers; IT system designers and cyber security specialists; data entry clerks and database administrators; business and power system analysts; and others. Along with new jobs, it means that we will take a great leap forward in the infrastructure necessary to bring affordable clean energy to American homes and businesses.

Along with better access to affordable clean energy, a Smart Grid also means a more reliable electricity system. Utilities with smart grid capabilities will know the health of their system in real-time – increasing efficiency, and reducing the risk of service interruptions or blackouts.

And overall, it means lower energy bills for homeowners and businesses, who will have real-time information on electricity rates and the ability to manage their energy consumption. An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could mean a savings of $20.4 billion for businesses and consumers around the country by 2030. $500 million for North Carolina alone.

This is the Recovery Act at work: new jobs, savings for homeowners and businesses, and an investment in our future in the form of innovative, American clean energy.

I thank all of you who have been instrumental in supporting our efforts to rebuild our foundation for prosperity. We’re glad to have your partnership and your leadership. I look forward to continuing our work together in the months and years ahead. Thank you.