The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), recently signed into law by President Obama, provides welcome news to technology suppliers who are facing a 0.1 percent 2009 U.S. growth rate, according to new research from IDC's Industry Insights Companies.

"With all the uncertainty surrounding the specifics of the new economic stimulus package, one thing is certain -- there will be a large amount of government money flowing towards technology spending," said IDC's Meredith Whalen. "This new government money will flow to both the private sector and directly to federal, state and local government."

Intelligent Grid Technologies

ARRA includes over $4.3 billion of funding specifically for "smart grid" technology investment. According to research from Energy Insights, the energy subsidies contained in the economic stimulus package will dramatically accelerate intelligent grid technology investment during the next four years; with the possibility of spending levels reaching $70 billion by 2013. This spending would span a wide range of technologies, including:

  • IT and communications hardware
  • Smart meters and other intelligent devices
  • Applications software used to operate the grid and enable active energy management by consumers
  • Software to manage huge amounts of meter and grid data
  • Advanced energy storage systems and grid-connected distributed generation resources and
  • A variety of services required to plan, integrate, deploy and maintain the technologies.

"Although the mechanisms for getting the subsidies to the utilities and other technology buyers are as yet unclear, we believe that spending will not start to accelerate until 2010," said Energy Insights' Rick Nicholson. "Once spending does start to accelerate, it is likely that it will be focused initially on smart metering projects. Broader deployments using technologies beyond smart metering will come later."

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