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Biden administration investing $3.5B to strengthen US electric grid

The Department of Energy said the new initiative marks the largest-ever investment in grid infrastructure.
Biden administration investing $3.5B to strengthen US electric grid
Posted at 11:26 AM, Oct 19, 2023

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it is putting $3.5 billion toward dozens of projects to strengthen the country's electric power grid and bolster its resilience against climate-related disasters.

The Department of Energy said the new Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships Program, along with investments from private partners, could result in up to $8 billion for 58 projects across 44 states. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm called it the largest-ever investment in grid infrastructure.

"Extreme weather events fueled by climate change will continue to strain the nation’s aging transmission systems, but President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will ensure America’s power grid can provide reliable, affordable power," Granholm said in a statement. "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."

The investment will fund projects aimed at increasing the efficiency and reliability of electric power systems, with a focus on things like solar, wind and other renewable energy. Granholm said the projects will also address problems like extreme weather brought on by climate change.

The funding includes $249 million each for rural parts of Georgia and Louisiana, as well as $250 million for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. The largest portion of the grant — $464 million — will be dedicated to five transmission projects across Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri and South Dakota. 

SEE MORE: Paradise in the dark: Where Americans endure continuous power outages

Earlier this year, the Energy Department also announced a $95 million program to help harden the energy grids in Hawaii following the deadly Maui fires that are speculated to have been sparked by high winds that downed power lines. 

"Our outdated grid has been in need of an update for a long, long time," said White House senior adviser Mitch Landrieu. "[The grid] is especially vulnerable to the increasing impacts of the climate crisis. Older equipment can overload during extreme heat and cold when power is needed most. And it's more likely to fail when communities are washed out by historic floods and decimated by stronger storms."

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