White House announces $3.5 billion for strengthening electric grids

October 19, 2023

The Biden Administration on Wednesday announced $3.5 billion for 58 projects to strengthen electric grids across the U.S.

“This is the largest-ever direct investment in critical grid infrastructure, supporting projects that will harden systems, improve energy reliability + affordability,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm wrote on social media.

The Administration is teaming up with private partners, which altogether could result in as much as $8 billion for the projects, according to Granholm.

The aim is to beef up the grids in order to withstand extreme weather events, like the devastating wildfires in Maui in August.

“We need [the grid] to be bigger, we need it to be stronger, we need it to be smarter” to bring a range of renewable energy projects online and meet the Biden Administration’s goal of reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035, Granholm said.

The money will be allocated as part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

The largest grant will invest $464 million in improving five transmission projects across seven Midwestern states from Iowa to North Dakota. 

Other funds are slated to go to rural areas in Georgia and Louisiana, to boosting wildfire mitigation in California, Oregon, Utah and elsewhere, and to a Native American tribe in Oregon. 

The nation’s existing power grids are “vulnerable to the increasing impacts of the climate crisis,” according to White House senior adviser Mitch Landrieu, who coordinates implementation of the Infrastructure Law. 

“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,” Landrieu said.

PHOTO: @SecGranholm

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