Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has announced a $16,063,450 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grant Program to help the state's small municipal and co-op utilities improve power grid reliability and help mitigate the impacts of extreme weather on Illinois families. Illinois is among the 11 states, two territories, and 20 Tribal nations that were selected for the program's eighth round of funding last week.
In the coming months, the Illinois Finance Authority/Climate Bank (IFA/CB) will conduct a competitive selection process to identify projects that focus on reliability and resiliency improvements in disadvantaged communities that are at risk from climate change impacts. The grant dollars are also intended to support equity by increasing access and opportunities for underserved residents and businesses, and support communities and small utilities in grid resiliency planning and investment.
IFA/CB has previously worked with stakeholders to help identify such projects, including: community resilience hubs at schools, fire stations, or other community facilities that provide essential services during extreme weather events; critical facility microgrids that help reduce safety threats during power outages; an emergency equipment share that provide smaller municipal and co-op utilities with access to essential equipment; and community-driven pilot programs.
"We thank Governor Pritzker for devoting state resources to pursue these federal dollars to benefit our consumers—ordinary people and small businesses in rural and small-town Illinois—and ensure that they have access to reliable, sustainable, and affordable electric power," said Craig Sondgeroth, president and CEO of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives.
Over the next five years, the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants will distribute a total of $2.3 billion to states, territories, and Tribes, which will then award these funds to eligible entities to complete a diverse set of projects, with priority given to efforts that generate the greatest community benefit while providing clean, affordable, and reliable energy.
This is the first direct allocation of federal funds to IFA/CB since CEJA created the Illinois Climate Bank in September 2021.