The Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding for transmission grid expansion, modernization and reliability. Known as the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships Program (GRIP), funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and managed by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, it oversees $3.46 billion earmarked for 58 projects in 44 states to modernize the electric grid.
Modernizing the grid will enable integration of renewable clean energy technology from sources including wind and solar. It will make the grid more resilient against extreme weather and reduce the impact of natural disasters. It will also improve the grid’s efficiency and reliability by incorporating innovative ideas for electricity transmission, storage and distribution. In addition, this investment—the largest ever in the country’s electric grid—will finance microgrids that serve critical facilities such as hospitals.
This is the first round of investment that is part of the $10.5 billion GRIP program, which itself is part of the Biden administration’s Investing in America agenda. The projects included in this first round, all of which support the President’s Justice40 Initiative to benefit disadvantaged communities, should bring more than 35 gigawatts of new renewable energy online, invest in 400 microgrids and create jobs.
U.S Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said, “Today’s announcement represents the largest-ever direct investment in critical grid infrastructure, supporting projects that will harden systems, improve energy reliability and affordability—all while generating union jobs for highly skilled workers.”
Initial projects include:
- Georgia: An investment of more than $507 million will be used to update smart grid infrastructure and invest in battery storage, local microgrids and new transmission lines. It will focus on communities that are remote, hard-to-reach and historically underinvested in, in order to decrease the frequency and duration of power outages, reduce energy bill strain on low-income households, and create more than 140 construction jobs.
- Louisiana: Two projects will focus on assisting disadvantaged communities to withstand extreme weather by supporting statewide emergency response operations through a network of Community Resilience Hubs powered by distributed energy resources (DERs) microgrids. The local grid will be upgraded, including hardening existing transmission lines and distribution systems to reduce outage frequency and duration. A battery backup project will reduce energy bills for disadvantaged communities.
- Michigan: New adaptive networked microgrids in the Detroit area will adjust to changing energy demands and supply conditions in real time. The microgrids will rely on new grid-sensing and fault location devices and communication tools to reduce the number and total duration of outages in the microgrid areas.
- Pennsylvania: Substation flood mitigation, upgrading underground monitoring and control technologies, deploying battery systems for backup power, replacing aging infrastructure and installing advanced conductors will increase grid capacity in southeastern Pennsylvania. Integrating DERs and enabling real-time grid control to reduce outage duration and frequency will create more than 200 new jobs and boost electric service reliability for more than 800,000 people in eastern Pennsylvania. Clean energy generation will help meet targets established in the state’s Climate Action Plan in Pittsburgh.
- Oregon: Several projects will provide clean energy to customers. Upgrading transmission capacity will connect customers with the currently isolated renewable resources east of the Cascade Mountains, including those on the Warm Springs Reservation. An artificial intelligence-enabled, grid-edge computing platform will improve the connection of DERs. Updating infrastructure for fire resistance and prevention in Oregon and neighboring states will reduce outages and risks.
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Lori Lovely is an award-winning writer and editor in central Indiana. She writes on technical topics, heavy equipment, automotive, motorsports, energy, water and wastewater, animals, real estate, home improvement, gardening and more. Reach her at: [email protected]