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Energy Department Gives Grid-Resiliency Grants

The Department of Energy will give $125 million to nine states and five tribal organizations to protect their power systems, it said this week, according to E&E News’ ENERGYWIRE (subscription).

What’s going on: The money—which will be given by the department’s grid office and is supported by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—is the latest round of funding in $580.5 million set aside for Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula grants.

  • The office began distributing money from the allocated funds in May.
  • Recipients are required to match 15% of each award.

Grid defense: “The funding can be used for a wide range of grid and community defenses, including underground cables, microgrids, battery storage equipment, power plant weatherization and advanced ‘low sag’ power lines that reduce the risk of fires from lines drooping into trees and shorting circuiting. The law prohibits funding power generating units.”

  • Grant disbursal should be based on “several factors,” including population, severity of past weather events, the likelihood of future such events and whether the state or tribe has made grid security a priority.
  • So far, Texas and California have received the largest sums under the program.

The hope: The DOE is hoping the grants will kickstart public–private partnerships and further investment by the recipients, a source told the outlet.

Our take: “Manufacturers rely on affordable, reliable energy to be able to produce products that make modern life possible,” said NAM Vice President of Domestic Economic Policy Brandon Farris.

  • “The NAM was proud to support the historic infrastructure bill that provided these investments to strengthen grid reliability, which is an essential aspect to ensuring our energy security.”
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