Our theme for the second quarter of 2022 will be “Resilience,” and we look forward to profiling our members’ work to strengthen grid resilience across your operations. When I testified before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis last month on grid resilience, committee staff specifically asked for me to include examples of what our members are doing on resilience, and our members’ examples tell a powerful story about how resilience investments dramatically improve reliability, speed recovery, and save customers and utilities money, and protect communities. Please continue to share your important resilience work with us over the next three months that we can highlight on our website and in other materials.
And as I say frequently, resilience is not the purview of utilities alone; communities need to consider how and where to build resilience for critical infrastructure and vulnerable populations alongside their utilities. In the coming months, our Technology and Policy Council meetings will also explore communities’ emergency response and resiliency planning.
GridWise Alliance recently formed a Resilience Working Group, and today we have approximately fifteen members represented. This Working Group is gearing up to respond to the numerous Requests for Information (RFIs) we know will be coming from the Department of Energy (DOE) as it considers how to structure the $11 billion of resilience funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). If you would like to join the Resilience Working Group, please contact Josh Steinhardt.
As a reminder, IIJA funded two new programs at DOE:
- Preventing Outages And Enhancing The Resilience Of The Electric Grid. This funding will be administered by the new Grid Infrastructure office created during DOE’s recent reorganization. IIJA divides the $5 billion funding into two grant programs—one at DOE and the other to states and tribes—to support utility resilience investments. The DOE grants will carve out 30% for small utilities (annual sales less than 4 million MWh), and the state carve out will be based on a percentage of customers served by small utilities.
- Electric Grid Reliability and Resilience Research, Development, and Demonstration. This $6 billion program, which will be administered by DOE’s new Clean Energy Demonstration Office, will provide grants to demonstrate innovative approaches to enhancing resilience across the transmission and distribution systems. Congress included a carve out for rural and remote areas of $1 billion.
We are closely tracking DOE’s implementation of these two programs to ensure that our members have timely information on new developments, and we share intel and coordinate strategy on our Tuesday “Grid Investments” calls. If you would like to join these calls, please contact Josh Steinhardt.
CEO, GridWise Alliance