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The Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF) has announced its second cohort of grantees and a new funding opportunity for community partners to help provide smart grid consumer education throughout the state.

ISEIF was formed as a part of the Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2011, which mandated the creation of a $50 million fund ($5 million per year over 10 years) to ensure consumers understand and have access to the benefits of the state’s new smart grid. Nearly 4 million smart meters will be installed in ComEd territory by the end of 2018, and 780,000 will be installed in Ameren territory by 2020.

The new grant recipients are Archeworks, Delta Institute, the Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Kindling Group, and Shedd Aquarium. ISEIF says the new cohort’s activities span the areas of municipal outreach, design-based research, multimedia tools and museum audience engagement.

ISEIF says its new small grants program will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to$15,000 to nonprofit organizations that play a critical role in their communities but may lack specific smart grid expertise. Illinois-based community groups, neighborhood organizations and other nonprofit groups that have strong local ties are encouraged to apply. Applications for the small grants program are being accepted through Sept. 9.

"Engagement at this scale, and with as diverse a demographic as that of Illinois, is unprecedented in the area of the smart grid,” comments Jason Blumberg, executive director of ISEIF. “We have a unique opportunity to further consumer understanding of the smart grid and also, beyond that, to enhance their understanding of electricity and energy use in their everyday lives.”

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