In the face of worsening climate impacts on the US electricity system, the Department of Energy (DOE) has announced funding of $48.4 million to drive grid resilience in three US states and nine tribal nations.
The funding forms part of US President Biden’s Investing in America agenda; selected communities form the sixth cohort of the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants to help modernise the electric grid in the face of climate-driven extreme weather and natural disasters.
“From remote and rural communities to urban centres, it is essential that every pocket of America has a strong and reliable energy grid that can deploy cleaner, cheaper power to homes and businesses, said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
“Thanks to the transformative investments in grid infrastructure under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are preparing the nation for a more resilient, clean energy future.”
The following states were selected for funding:
• Alaska will receive $22 million to reduce the likelihood and consequences of natural hazard events like winter storms, extreme temperatures and landslides causing disruption to normal grid operations and critical facilities.
• Utah will receive $12 million to reduce the overall negative impacts of disruptive events on Utah’s residential and commercial power end users.
• Virginia will receive $11 million to conduct enhanced grid modelling for transmission and distribution planning to reduce disruptions by informing strategic investment and deployment of innovative technologies. Grant funds will be used to address outdated or failing energy infrastructure equipment and materials like power lines, power poles, transformers and bucket trucks serving Virginia communities.
The following tribal communities were selected for funding:
• Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation will receive $458,123 to decrease the frequency and duration of electrical outages on the Reservation and address the energy burden experienced by low-income tribal members and disadvantaged communities.
• Chalkyitsik Village will receive $112,439 to support a continuous supply of power in the system and will improve grid reliability by decreasing the number of outages and improving the ability to recover after severe weather events. The grant funding will also be used to develop battery energy storage for critical facilities.
• Citizen Potawatomi Nation will receive $1.3 million to decrease the frequency and duration of electrical outages on the Reservation and address the energy burden experienced by low-income tribal members and disadvantaged communities.
• Fort Sill Apache Tribe will receive $684,000 to ensure critical tribal facilities are not impacted by disruptive events such as extreme weather and will implement improved controls, automation and communication technology to enhance local grid operations and control.
• Galena Village, otherwise known as aka Louden Village, will receive $112,894 to support a continuous supply of power to consumers, reduce outage risks, develop projects and approaches for backup power and advance partnerships with utilities to develop clean energy.
• Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians will receive $183,155 to ensure critical tribal community facilities are not impacted by extreme weather and other disruptive events and address the energy burden faced by the tribal community.
• Native Village of Port Graham will receive $181,493 to support battery storage for critical facilities, maintain a continuous supply of power that is acceptable to consumers and reduce outage risks and improve the ability to recover from disruptive events.
• Seneca Nation of Indians will receive $479,021 to modernise the electric grid, ensure critical community facilities are not impacted by extreme weather events and address the energy burden experienced by low-income tribal members.
• Summit Lake Paiute Tribe will receive $115,833 to enable investments in grid modernisation, ensure critical facilities are not impacted by disruptive events by providing backup power to enhance system adaptive capacity and reduce disruptions to grid operations from extreme weather events.
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 federally recognised tribes based on a formula that includes factors such as population size, land area, probability and severity of disruptive events, and a locality’s historical expenditures on mitigation efforts.
The States, Territories, and tribes will then award these funds 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.
Since May of this year, DOE has distributed more than $455.5 million in Grid Resilience Formula Grants due to the Investing in America Agenda.