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Biden Administration Announces US$ 2.3 Bn for States and Tribes to Strengthen Power Grid

July 19, 2022
President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law provides historic investments to build state and tribal electricity grids resilient to climate change, deploy cheaper and cleaner energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) opened the application period for States, Tribal nations, and territories to apply for the US$ 2.3 billion formula grant program designed to strengthen and modernize America’s power grid against wildfires, extreme weather, and other natural disasters exacerbated by the climate crisis.

The Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid program is established by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered through DOE’s new Building a Better Grid Initiative. The program will assist with projects that create good-paying jobs to deliver clean, affordable, and reliable energy to more Americans when needed — getting the nation closer to the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a national grid run on a 100% clean electricity by 2035. 

“Every community deserves a strong and reliable energy grid that can deploy cleaner, cheaper power to homes and businesses,” said U.S. secretary of energy, Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to the transformative investments in grid infrastructure from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can help protect our neighborhoods, main streets, and downtowns from grid shutdowns during extreme weather events, while creating good-paying jobs in the process.” 

Power outages from severe weather have doubled over the past two decades across the U.S. and the frequency and length of time for power failures has reached their highest levels since reliability tracking began in 2013 — with U.S. customers on average experiencing more than eight hours of outages in 2020. 

The Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid formula grant program will provide $459 million annually to States and Tribal nations over an anticipated five-year period to improve the resilience of the electric grid against disruptive events. Grid resilience activities could include:

  • Utility pole upkeep and removal of trees and other vegetation affecting grid performance
  • Undergrounding electrical equipment
  • Relocating or reconductoring powerlines
  • Improvements to make the grid resistant to extreme weather
  • Increasing fire resistant components
  • Implementing monitoring, controls, and advanced modeling for real-time situational awareness
  • Integrating distributed energy resources like microgrids and energy storage 

Applicants will be asked to describe the concrete outcomes they intend to seek, and commit to specific progress metrics, such as reducing or shortening outages from severe events or by reducing risks to health and safety from such outages. The funding program will make awards to states, territories or tribes representing diverse sets of populations, including underserved and disadvantaged communities, following through on the Biden Administration’s Justice40 commitment to provide 40% of the benefits from climate investments to frontline communities.  

Under this program, priority will be given to projects that will generate the greatest community benefit, whether rural or urban, in reducing the likelihood and consequences of blackouts and power shutdowns because of extreme weather or other disruptive events like cyberattacks. Projects should also drive the creation of good-paying union jobs with a focus on high labor standards and the free and fair chance for workers to join a union.   

The deadline for application is Sept 30, 2022 / 11:59 PM ET.  Funding available for States, Tribal nations and Territories can be found here. Application forms and instructions are available at Section 40101(d) Formula Grants to States & Indian Tribes.  

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