As the country faces more extreme weather events, the federal government is allocating more than $6 billion to accelerate projects that will make the electric grid more reliable and efficient, reduce flood risks and support conservation efforts.
The bulk of the funding will come from the Department of Energy’s Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program, which will provide $10.5 billion over five years to make the nation’s power grid more resilient.
Applications opened Nov. 14 for the second round of funding – $3.9 billion – for projects that focus on energy transmission and distribution.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in October announced the first round of funding, $3.46 billion for 58 projects, such as expanding clean energy suppliers, microgrid investments and increasing renewable energy capacity.
Applications for the second round of funding close Jan. 12. Applicants must submit a concept paper that describes the outcomes of the project and how GRIP funding would affect it. For this round, the DOE will also provide applicants with a partner list of organizations that seek to explore partnerships for projects.
“The GRIP program offers an opportunity to not only invest in a power system that addresses critical needs, but also a unique chance to build partnerships between states, local governments, Tribes, and private industry,” Maria Robinson, director of the Grid Deployment Office, said in a statement.
The GRIP program is broken down into three methods of funding grid resiliency projects:
- Grid Resilience Utility and Industry Grants: About $2.5 billion is for projects that reduce the impact extreme weather and natural disasters have on the electric grid. Grants are awarded to grid and electricity storage operators, electricity generators, transmission owners and operators, distribution providers and fuel suppliers.
- Smart Grid Grants: A total of $3 billion will help increase the efficiency and reliability of the grid’s transmission system, such as increasing transmission capacity or preventing faults that could start wildfires. Entities that can participate include higher education institutions, for-profit and nonprofit entities, local and state governments and tribal nations.
- Grid Innovation Program: Financial assistance of $5 billion will go toward innovative approaches such as advanced technologies to transmit, store and distribute infrastructure for grid resilience. States, tribes, governments and public utility commissions can partner with electricity owners and operators.
Funding for the programs comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will allocate more than $62 million to the DOE for investing in clean energy, new technologies and power grid infrastructure.
Other efforts to invest in climate resiliency include $2 billion in grants for projects that help communities facing environmental and climate injustice.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will allocate $300 million through its Swift Current Initiative that helps communities that were affected by catastrophic flooding in 2022-23. This initiative helps deploy mitigation assistance quickly.
Western states will also benefit from $100 million for water infrastructure upgrades for drought resistance, such as conservation efforts and increased reliability of water supply.