The system is to be rolled out through North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, as part of president Barack Obama’s grid modernisation.

Overall, the scheme will cost about $3.4bn to the government and is backed by around $8bn of industry investment and has been hailed as the ‘largest single energy grid modernisation investment in U.S. history’.

Announcing the move last night Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Lisa Jackson, said: “A cornerstone of our new foundation for prosperity is the growth of the American clean energy economy.

“Investments in innovative smart grid technology will create new jobs, lower energy bills for consumers and businesses, promote more efficient and reliable energy delivery, and set the stage for affordable clean energy across the country.”

An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4% by 2030.

That would mean a savings of $20.4bn for businesses and consumers around the country, and $500m for North Carolina alone – or $51 in utility savings for every man, woman and child in North Carolina.

Luke Walsh

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