In a Blackout, It Doesn’t Matter if Your TV is Digital or Analog

By February 17, 2009Communications, Economy, Energy

From the Washington Post story, “Alternative Energy Still Facing Headwinds,” citing President Obama’s recent remarks at the Department of Energy:

“After decades of dragging our feet,” Obama said, the “plan will finally spark the creation of a clean energy industry that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next few years, manufacturing wind turbines and solar cells, for example.”

Obama said U.S. renewable fuel capacity will double in “the next few years.” Noting that the electrical grid has changed little since the era of black-and-white TV, he promised a “better, smarter” network that will “ship wind and solar power from one end of this country to the other.”

Yet the $2 billion in the stimulus package devoted to transmission lines is a tiny part of what’s needed.

From AP, cited in today’s Washington Post, “Some TV stations get ready to cut analog signals“:

The stimulus bill that President Barack Obama is expected to sign on Tuesday contains $650 million in additional funding. Once that’s available to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, it can clear the 4 million coupon backlog in a few weeks.

Transmission lines: $2 billion

Consumer subsidies and “education” for transition to DTV: $650 million.

UPDATE (3:30 p.m.): How much money for the smart grid? Grist, the environmental advocacy site, summarizes energy provisions in the stimulus bill, including $11 billion for smart grid and $7.5 billion for renewable energy and transmission-line construction. But at the American Spectator, alternative-energy critic and pessimist William Tucker reports “$4.5 billion for ‘smart grid’ upgrades and $6.5 billion to help the Bonneville and Western Area Power Administrations upgrade their grid to ferry renewable energy from remote regions.” Here’s Bloomberg: “The measure contains $4.5 billion for the energy-efficient smart grid and $6.5 billion for transmission lines serving federally operated utilities such as the Bonneville Power Administration, for a total of $11 billion in upgraded power production.” Indeed, the $11 billion figure is the most frequent one we see.

 

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