Black Hills Corp., a diversified energy company, has reached agreement with the Department of Energy for smart grid funding through grants totaling $20.7 million for its electric utility subsidiaries, Black Hills Energy - Colorado Electric, Black Hills Power and Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power.
The funds are made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and, combined with matching investments from the Black Hills electric utilities, enable the installation of about 149,000 smart meters and related infrastructure investments.
'We are pleased to reach agreement with the DOE for smart grid funding. The integration of this technology will create operational efficiencies, reduce costs and allow us to provide additional energy services to our customers,' said Linn Evans, president and chief operating officer, utilities, Black Hills Corp., in a statement.
Evans said the company's three electric utility applications were among the 100 selected by the DOE for grants, and as a result, the electric customers in Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming will reap the benefits of new, innovative smart grid infrastructure.
Officials with Black Hills said that the DOE award agreements provide Black Hills Energy - Colorado Electric with approximately $6.1 million in matching funds for the installation of up to an additional 42,000 smart meters and communications infrastructure that will automate meter reading and enable a direct load control pilot program in its southern Colorado service area.
Company officials said that Black Hills Power will receive approximately $9.6 million in matching funds, which is approximately $4 million more than the amount initially reported, for the installation of 69,000 smart meters, along with communications infrastructure, IT software and equipment necessary to initiate an advanced metering system in its western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming utility service areas.
Cheyenne Light will receive approximately $5 million in matching funds for the installation of 38,000 smart meters and communications infrastructure in and around its Cheyenne, Wyo., service area.
According to company officials, Black Hills Power and Cheyenne Light will begin AMI implementation throughout their service territories this year and Black Hills Energy - Colorado Electric will begin phase three of its AMI implementation, having already installed more than 56,500 smart meters and associated infrastructure in its service territory in 2009.Anil Sharma is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anil's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Alice Straight