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From North Carolina to New Hampshire, Hurricane Irene knocked out power, flattened communities, and even claimed numerous lives. Economic experts estimate the Eastern Seaboard calamity has caused more than $7 billion in damage. However, in the face of tragedy it was perseverance from both hard-working professionals from utilities such as Progress Energy and strong-willed residential communities that have been working around the clock to see to it, that power be restored. The silver lining here is that natural disasters such as Hurricane Irene transport smart grid technology to the forefront because it provides a major opportunity to minimize power loss for storm-affected communities (actually the East Coast of the U.S., along the path of Irene, has many proposed projects under consideration or in development). The energy industry has taken notice as the number of installed and operational smart meters across all U.S. Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) projects has increased from 307,291 to a staggering 5.68 million (see figure 2) from Q3-2010 to Q2-2011 – with only 1/3 of the total SGIG funds spent to date. In this report Zpryme analyzed data reported to the Department Energy (DOE) from 74 of the 99 projects awarded SGIG funds in 2009.
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