The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) announced on Aug. 30 that the agency is soliciting input on its plans to provide $2.5 billion of grant money for electric grid resilience, and $3 billion in grant funding for electric power “smart grid” projects.

At the same time, DoE is also seeking input on how to allocate a planned $5 billion of grant funding for an electric grid innovation program that is targeting “innovative approaches to transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure to enhance grid resilience and reliability.”

In particular, the Energy Department said it wants input from state, local, and tribal governments – among other stakeholders – as it figures out implementation strategies for each program.  Comments are due to the agency by Oct. 14. DoE said it expects related funding opportunity announcements later this year.

On the grid resilience front, DoE said the $2.5 billion in grant funding will support “activities that reduce the likelihood and consequence of impacts to the electric grid due to extreme weather, wildfire, and natural disaster” or any other events that can disrupt power systems.

Investments funded by the grants will allow for outdated infrastructure to be replaced with updated and improved power sources that will be able to stand against climate change-related hazards, as well as clean the energy transition.

“[M]odernizing, hardening, and expanding the grid will enhance the resilience of our entire electric system,” DoE said, “and ensure that electricity is available to customers when it is needed most.”

The agency said the proposed smart grid grants aim to “increase the flexibility, efficiency, and reliability of the electric power system, with particular focus on increasing capacity of the transmission system, preventing faults that may lead to wildfires or other system disturbances, integrating renewable energy at the transmission and distribution levels, and facilitating the integration of increasing electrified vehicles, buildings, and other grid-edge devices.”

“Smart grid technologies funded and deployed at scale under this program will demonstrate a pathway to wider market adoption,” the agency said.

“DOE is moving quickly to upgrade the nation’s power grid in order to provide American households with more reliable and affordable electricity that comes from a more diverse set of clean energy sources,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

This program is one step towards aiding President Biden’s goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2035.

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