ARKANSAS, Sept 5 (Future Headlines)- The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is taking significant steps to fortify the nation’s electrical grid against the growing threats posed by climate-driven extreme weather and natural disasters. Under President Biden’s ambitious “Investing in America” agenda, the DOE has announced the seventh cohort of Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants. These grants, totaling $125 million, are aimed at modernizing the electric grid, ensuring power sector reliability, and reducing the impacts of climate-related challenges.

Extreme climate-related disasters have already cost the U.S. a staggering $15 billion this year alone. In response to this urgent need, the DOE is taking proactive measures to enhance grid resilience, support clean energy goals, and empower American communities. This comprehensive investment demonstrates the government’s commitment to delivering dependable and sustainable electricity while bolstering the country’s workforce and economy.

  • The importance of grid resilience

Grid resilience has emerged as a critical component of the national energy strategy, especially in the face of increasing climate-related challenges. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emphasizes that removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere is as vital as reducing emissions to mitigate temperature rises. Therefore, modernizing the grid not only ensures a reliable power supply but also contributes to environmental sustainability. These grants represent a strategic shift towards addressing the vulnerability of the grid to extreme weather events, making communities more resilient and environmentally conscious. They align with the broader clean energy goals set by the Biden administration, reinforcing the U.S.’s commitment to fighting climate change.

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  • The cohort of grantees

The seventh cohort of Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants includes nine states and five tribal nations. Each recipient has specific plans to improve grid resilience, reduce outage risks, enhance clean energy infrastructure, and create a more skilled workforce.

Beaver Village, Alaska: This project aims to ensure a continuous power supply through preventative maintenance and training for utility owners and operators. It will also provide backup power during outages and advance energy justice. (Amount: $112,917)

Chilkat Indian Village (Klukwan), Alaska: This initiative focuses on grid resilience training, reduced outage risks, battery storage for critical facilities, and lowering the energy burden on low-income tribal members. (Amount: $117,116)

Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma: The project will install battery backup for critical care and emergency facilities, reduce operational costs, invest in clean energy and decarbonization, and enhance the tribal workforce. (Amount: $927,979)

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Washington: This grant will ensure that critical community facilities remain operational during extreme weather events, support modern grid infrastructure, and reduce energy costs for consumers. (Amount: $169,830)

Maryland: Maryland’s project aims to improve the resilience and reliability of the power grid, particularly in disadvantaged communities. It will also invest in carbon-neutral energy technologies and workforce development for clean energy jobs. (Amount: $8.7 million)

Massachusetts: The state’s initiative focuses on enhancing energy reliability and resilience, reducing outages, advancing environmental and energy justice, and creating well-paying jobs. (Amount: $9.2 million)

Mississippi: This project will mitigate the risk of severe weather to critical facilities, invest in grid hardening, and develop microgrid and non-wired alternative projects. (Amount: $12 million)

Montana: Montana’s plan is to improve the reliability and resilience of the electric grid, limit wildfire ignition, and increase the skilled workforce for grid resilience activities. (Amount: $14 million)

Nebraska: This initiative will strengthen existing equipment, harden electric system components, and create jobs and training opportunities for electric energy technology workers. (Amount: $10.8 million)

New Jersey: New Jersey’s project focuses on maintaining critical community facilities during extreme weather events, increasing the skilled workforce, and modernizing grid infrastructure. (Amount: $12.8 million)

New York: New York aims to enhance grid resilience, invest in decarbonization solutions, reduce the energy burden on disadvantaged communities, and increase the skilled workforce. (Amount: $23.8 million)

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma: This project seeks to ensure the critical tribal facilities remain operational, modernize the grid, and increase the skills of the tribal workforce. (Amount: $550,543)

Washington: Washington plans to reduce the frequency and impact of outages, enhance resilience in disadvantaged communities, and create well-paying jobs. (Amount: $23.4 million)

Wyoming: Wyoming’s initiative focuses on increasing grid resilience and reliability, improving weatherization, mitigating wildfire risks, and ensuring public safety through grid improvements. (Amount: $8.1 million)

  • The path forward

Over the next five years, the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants will allocate a total of $2.3 billion to states, territories, and federally recognized tribes. The distribution of funds is based on a formula that considers factors such as population size, land area, probability and severity of disruptive events, and historical expenditures on mitigation efforts. These entities will then allocate the funds to eligible projects that prioritize community benefits, clean energy, and reliability. The grants are announced on a rolling basis as applications are received, with applications for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 already closed. The funding represents a pivotal step towards achieving grid resilience, reducing climate risks, and advancing the U.S.’s clean energy transition.

Reporting by Emad Martin