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As of March 2012, $2.96 billion invested in smart grid projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has created at least $6.8 billion in total economic output, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

In a new report, the DOE evaluates the immediate, not long-term, economic effects of ARRA-funded Smart Grid Investment Grants and Smart Grid Demonstration Programs. The report offers statistics on gross domestic product (GDP), employment, total labor income and economic output generated by the smart grid initiatives.

Key findings of the report include the following:

- The smart grid GDP multiplier is higher than with many forms of government investment. In fact, for every $1 million of direct spending, including federal ARRA funds and investments matched by the private sector, the GDP increased by $2.5 to $2.6 million.

- Approximately 47,000 full-time-equivalent jobs were supported by smart grid investments. Smart grid vendor companies (e.g., manufacturers, information technology and technical services providers) supported around 12,000 direct jobs; the vendors’ supply chains, as well as related spending throughout the broader economy, created the remainder of jobs cited.

- Industrial sectors that directly benefit from ARRA investments include technical and scientific services and consulting, computer systems design, electrical/wireless equipment and component manufacturing. Meanwhile, wholesale trade, real estate, financial services restaurants and healthcare industries also experience indirect and induced benefits.

The full DOE report, titled “Economic Impact of Recovery Act Investments in the Smart Grid,” is available here.




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