Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) today announced that the Department of Energy released nearly $15.7 million to Rappahannock Electric Cooperative in Fredericksburg for upgrades and improvements to spur Virginia’s transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system. The funds were made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The funding for Fredericksburg is part of a $3.4 billion clean-energy initiative aimed at creating markets for wind and solar power. The 100 projects selected will be matched by industry funding for a total public-private investment worth over $8 billion.

“Today’s $15.7 million investment in Fredericksburg’s energy infrastructure will make the system more dependable during peak hours, help lower resident’s energy costs, and create new jobs in an emerging alternative energy industry,” said Senator Webb. “This funding is also an important step forward in modernizing Virginia’s energy grid.”

“Upgrading to ‘smart grid’ technology will help create jobs and other opportunities at the local level, and increase the efficiency, reliability and security of our entire energy transmission system,” Senator Warner said.

To improve overall system reliability, the funds will assist in implementing digital improvements and upgrades to communication infrastructure, advanced meters, cyber security equipment, and digital automation. In addition to the Fredericksburg grant, the Department of Energy provided $5 million for improved fiber optic and microwave infrastructure in Manassas, Virginia.

An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4 percent by 2030. That would mean a savings of $20.4 billion for businesses and consumers around the country, and $1.6 billion for Florida alone -- or $56 in utility savings for every man, woman and child in Florida.