The Biden-Harris Administration has made significant investments in critical grid infrastructure upgrades and clean energy projects to address the challenges posed by climate change and increasing power demands. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a $3.5 billion funding for 58 projects in 44 states to fortify the aging US power grid against extreme weather and fires, as well as integrate renewable energy sources.
This funding, which comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, marks the largest direct investment in the grid to date. The initiative is a response to climate change-induced disasters and the growing power demands from new technologies such as electric vehicles and AI. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has emphasized the need for a more robust, larger, and smarter grid to accommodate the evolving landscape of energy production and consumption.
The funded projects include plans to generate over 35 GW of renewable energy and establish 400 microgrids to enhance energy independence. More than 75% of the projects have collaborations with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union, aiming to create or maintain union jobs. The funding is part of the DOE’s larger $10.5 billion grid resilience and innovation partnerships (GRIP) program.
One notable project receiving more than $507 million focuses on bolstering remote communities in Georgia. The funding will enhance a smart grid in the state, incorporating battery storage, local microgrids, and transmission lines. In Pennsylvania, PECO Energy will work on improving grid reliability and resilience by implementing various measures, including flood mitigation for substations, updating aging infrastructure, and deploying battery systems for backup power. Some initiatives also aim to expand transmission across multiple states, including a wildfire mitigation project in Western states.
In addition to grid upgrades, the federal government has announced other initiatives under the Inflation Reduction Act to boost clean energy access and climate resilience in low-income communities. These efforts, led by the US Department of the Treasury (USDT), DOE, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), include bonus incentives for small clean energy projects and awards for resilient, zero-energy housing.
Under the bonus credit program, qualifying wind and solar energy facilities in low-income communities will receive support from the agencies. The program enables eligible facilities to benefit from a 10 or 20 percentage-point increase to the investment tax credit of up to 30%. Eligible renewable energy facilities must have a maximum output of less than 5 MW. These incentives aim to drive investments into underserved areas, reduce energy costs, and decrease pollution.
The HUD’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program (GRRP) manages the funding program for resilient, zero-energy retrofits. The agency has allocated $103.4 million in loans and grants for the renovation of over 1,500 low-income households. This funding will facilitate substantial retrofits to ensure climate resilience and achieve zero-energy status for these residential buildings, furthering the administration’s commitment to affordable and sustainable housing for low-income families.
The DOE has also launched its Earthshot program to achieve a minimum of 50% cost reduction in decarbonizing homes and lowering energy costs for residents by 20% within the next 10 years. These funding initiatives directed towards grid fortification and clean energy expansion reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to sustainable and resilient energy solutions. By prioritizing grid resilience, renewable energy integration, and climate-conscious housing retrofits, these efforts aim to foster a greener and more sustainable future for communities across the nation.