The electric grid is about to see a new infusion of funding, with nearly $3.5 billion of funding going toward electric grid resilience and reliability to fund 58 projects across 44 states.
The funding stems from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the projects will leverage more than $8 billion in federal and private investments to ensure electricity across the United States and resilience of the power grid during extreme weather events that have worsened due to climate change. The Department of Energy said it is the largest investment on record for the U.S. electric grid.
The funds are part of the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program, managed by the Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office, with the aim of:
- Modernizing the electric grid
- Increase flexibility, efficiency, and reliability of the electric power system
- Improve electric reliability through new approaches to transmission, storage, and distribution
The $3.46 billion announced is the first round of selections under the broader $10.5 billion GRIP Program.
“Extreme weather events fueled by climate change will continue to strain the nation’s aging transmission systems, but President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will ensure America’s power grid can provide reliable, affordable power,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement. “Today’s announcement represents the largest-ever direct investment in critical grid infrastructure, supporting projects that will harden systems, improve energy reliability and affordability — all while generating union jobs for highly skilled workers.”
Electric Projects Underway
According to the DOE, the funding will specifically bring more than 35 gigawatts of new renewable energy online, invest in 400 microgrids, and maintain and create good-paying union jobs. Three out of four projects are partnering with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the DOE noted.
All projects selected in the first round of funding also have Justice40 commitments, which is an initiative by the Biden administration to confront and address decades of underinvestment in disadvantaged communities
Projects approved for funding include those in Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Oregon.
In Georgia, the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority and the Family of Companies that support the Georgia electric cooperatives will collaborate on a project that targets increased reliability and lower costs through a $507 million investment that involves a comprehensive smart grid infrastructure update. Two projects in Louisiana will focus on better positioning disadvantaged communities to withstand extreme weather through a strategic initiative with 15 government entities, energy companies, and community and academic institutions.
The Michigan project in Detroit will deploy adaptive networked microgrids that can adapt to changing energy demands and supply conditions in real time, particularly after extreme weather events. The work in Pennsylvania aims to integrate distributed energy resources and enable real-time grid control to reduce outage duration and frequency, while also creating hundreds of jobs and boosting electric service reliability to more than 800,000 people. Oregon also has multiple projects that will connect vast amounts of clean energy to customers and create good-paying union jobs.