Congress Agrees to Sweeping COVID Relief and Government Funding Package, Including American Energy Innovation Act

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This post originally appeared as a message to the Grid Forward community.

It’s been a long time since the U.S. Congress has updated any significant energy legislation. Yesterday, as a part of the coronavirus relief and government funding package, the House and then the Senate agreed to the bi-partisan America Energy Innovation Act that provides funding across a wide variety of research and demonstration pathways. The overarching relief and funding bill outlines the massive 5500+ page document, including the more than 500 pages in the Energy Act, starting at pg 3194.

Among the areas Grid Forward is most excited to see is the Grid Modernization Title VIII (in Energy Act, found in Division Z) starting on p3630. It provides the following:

  • Smart Grid Regional Demonstrations (section 8001)
  • Smart Grid Modeling, Visualization, Architecture and Controls (section 8002)
  • Integrated Energy Systems (section 8003)
  • Grid Integration R&D (section 8004)
  • Advisory Committee (section 8005)
  • Coordination Efforts (section 8006)
  • Technology Demonstration on Distribution Grid (section 8007)
  • Voluntary Model Pathways (section 8008)
  • Performance Metrics for Electric Infrastructure providers (section 8009)
  • Voluntary State, Regional and Local Electric Distribution Planning (section 8010)
  • Integrated Microgrid Systems Program (section 8011)

In total, these sections represent $2.2B over five years for advanced grid and regional market innovations that will go a significant way in helping accelerate energy system modernization.

“This is an outstanding downpayment on long-needed grid infrastructure and innovation progress. The industry and our community are ready to invest in our systems and communities to help with recovery from the COVID crisis and to build a more resilient, clean and equitable grid.”

Bryce Yonker, executive director, Grid Forward

Additional areas Grid Forward is pleased to see in the Energy Act include:

  • Title 1, Section 1007 Smart Building Acceleration 
  • Title 3, Section 3202 Energy Storage Technology & Microgrid Assistance (though only $15M per year)
  • Title 9, Section 9002 Lab Partnering Service Pilot Program & Section 9003 Technology Commercialization Fund
  • Title 10, expanding ARPA-E funding from $435M to $761M million between 2021 and 2025
  • And a variety of other support for advanced energy demonstrations. 

We are glad to see key government agencies funded through the bill as well as much needed relief headed to Americans as we all continue to work through the impacts of the pandemic.

Comments, questions or feedback about this announcement? Feel free to contact Bryce.

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