SILVER SPRING NETWORKS SCORES OVER $700 MILLION IN SMART-GRID GREEN STIMULUS FUNDS –– RIGGING THE BIDDING PROCESS?
One of the most contentious of Obama Green Stimulus money awards comes out of the ashes of the $4 billion smart-grid grants, with some of the nation’s largest providers of electricity meters “crying foul” over the smart-grid standards in the stimulus bill, according to a report by USA TODAY in February 2009. Additionally, they said that the economic stimulus bill "could put them out of business and wreak havoc in the new market for smart-grid technology by favoring certain computer network standards.”
Itron, Landis+Gyr, Elster and Aclara even wrote a letter to U.S. Senators to voice their concerns regarding the “protocols and standards” that were placed into the House version of the legislation for all smart-grid projects, which states that "utilities receiving funding must use Internet-based or other open protocols and standards if available and appropriate." Ed Gray, vice president of regulatory affairs for smart-meter provider Elster, said "the bill gives a leg up to Silver Spring at the expense of other providers."
Interestingly, in March 2009, a month after the stimulus bill had already passed, Jeff St. John from GreenTechMedia.com, quoted a statement made by Stuart Bush, an alternative energy analyst for RBC Capital Markets, "both Trilliant and Silver Spring (both smart-grid communications companies) could benefit from the way the stimulus plan was structured to require open standards." Bush also added, "Clearly the West Coast VC guys had a lot of lobby pull getting that in there."
Clearly the "West Coast VC guys" –– Kleiner Perkins (Gore and Doerr), have more than "lobby pull." In fact, Silver Spring Networks, as revealed in Troxler and Browns book, is one of Kleiner Perkins shining “green” companies –– their 2008, $75-million investment has scored over $700 million! Since August of 2009 when the DOE started dishing out the $4-billion from the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program (part of the stimulus plan) –– awarded to selected utility companies for particular smart-grid projects –– close to sixty percent of Silver Spring “customers” were winners.
- American Electric Power (AEP) received $75 million for AEP Ohio gridSMARTSM Demonstration Project, announces earth2tech.com in August 2009. It should be noted here that Richard Sandor is on the AEP board. Sandor, Chairman and founder of the Chicago Climate Exchange, who is connected to President Obama and Al Gore, is another key "player" in this Climate Scan, which will be exposed later.
- Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative got $18.8 million for a general smart- grid build out in Texas as reported in August 2009 by earth2tech.com. Additionally, in November 2009 Austin’s Pecan Street Project won $10.4 million in federal stimulus money to create a smart-grid demonstration project, which includes Bluebonnet as part or their Technology Review and Advisory Committee.
- In October 2009 Florida Power & Electric was awarded $200 milllion for Energy Smart Florida –– posted by earth2tech.com.
- In April 2010 Pepco Holdings Inc. signed contracts for three ARRA grants totaling $168.1 million to advance smart-grid projects, reported by the Washington Business Journal. Additionally in April 2010, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced $100 million from the stimulus will go for Smart Grid Workforce Training and Development, of which Florida Power & Light got $5 million and Pepco got just over $4.3 million.
- In October 2009, "the U.S. Department of Energy announced that Modesto Irrigation District (MID) was one of only six California utilities selected to receive a $1.5 million federal stimulus grant to support MID’s efforts to install smart control equipment throughout its electric infrastructure" –– published in an Oracle Press Release.
- Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. received a $130 million stimulus grant for a 771,000 smart meter deployment, as reported in October 2009 by GreenTechGrid.com.
- Sacramento Municipal Utility District got a $127.5 million stimulus grant for a comprehensive regional smart-grid system, announced in October 2009 by GreenTechGrid.com.
- According to an August 2009 article by earth2tech.com, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) –– another Silver Spring customer –– "applied for $42.5 million government grant for home area networks in conjunction with the city of San Jose and Stanford University," yet it is unclear whether or not they received it. However, in May 2010, the DOE awarded PG&E a $25 million stimulus grant to develop compressed air storage for electricity" –– writes the San Francisco Business Times.
But the "government bucks" don’t stop at Silver Spring Networks...