The Biden administration, through the US Department of Energy (DOE), today announced that applications are now open to states, tribes, and utilities to tap into $13 billion in new financing opportunities for the expansion and modernization of the US power grid.
The Grid Resilience Innovative Partnership (GRIP) program and the Transmission Facilitation Program are funded by the Biden administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Together, the two programs represent the largest single direct federal investment in critical transmission and distribution infrastructure. It’s also one of the first down payments on a more than $20 billion investment under the Biden administration’s Building a Better Grid Initiative.
The White House also announced a $2.3 billion program that funds grid resilience investments by states and tribes to reduce impacts due to extreme weather and natural disasters.
According to the DOE, independent estimates show that the US needs to expand electricity transmission systems by 60% by 2030, and may even need to triple current capacity by 2050 to accommodate a rapidly increasing supply of clean energy and meet growing power demand for EVs and electric home heating, as well as reduce power outages from severe weather due to climate change.
US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said:
With nearly 70% of the nation’s grid more than 25 years old, the President’s agenda is making historic investments that will strengthen the nation’s transmission grid to drive down energy costs, generate good-paying jobs, and help keep the lights on during extreme weather events.
I like to think of the journey to electrification within the context of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We can’t “self-actualize” – become fully net zero – if we don’t have our “physiological and safety” needs met – fix the power grid. Having a stable and upgraded grid is the very foundation of electrification. Unless we all go off-grid, it’s simply not possible to move up the “hierarchy.”
So this White House announcement is great news. There are some very innovative companies working hard to update the grid, and hopefully states and utilities will tap into their knowledge. It’s exciting.