Grid Forward Congratulates All Recipients of U.S. DOE Grid Deployment Office Funding
Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program investments for 58 projects across 44 states totaling up to $3.5 billion. Grid Forward played an organizing role in the bringing together regional stakeholders in multiple submissions, two of which were accepted with a total federal investment of as much as $137,808,674.
Made possible through the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the investments intend to enhance grid flexibility and improve the resilience of the power system against growing threats of extreme weather and climate change, so all American communities have access to affordable, reliable, clean electricity.
“These projects represent a transformational step in advancing the grid to improve resiliency for the infrastructure that delivers electricity to all our communities,” said Bryce Yonker, executive director and CEO of Grid Forward. “We are excited to have partnered with so many utilities as well as industry and community stakeholders to put these resources to good use.”
Investing in Wildfire Mitigation and Grid Resilience
Grid Forward and its partners will be proceeding to the next step in the process with these two projects:
- Advanced Solutions For Wildfire Mitigation – Federal Cost Share $38,480,244
- Reducing Wildfires And Increasing Resilience In Central And Western States – Federal Cost Share: $99,328,430
In these projects Grid Forward will be serving in an educational and advisory capacity. The organization will be helping share best practices with project participants, developing educational materials, supporting stakeholder engagement and convening project partners. Additionally Grid Forward will serve as a catalyst to share the lessons from these projects with the wider industry since so many are working to deal with the impact of wildfire threats and the grid.
“Wildfire threat is at the top of the list of priorities for most every western grid operator. We look forward to the lessons that come from these projects, as well the others that are also funded by DOE in this area, to demonstrate that a number of solutions indeed are available to deal with the challenging conditions as wildfire threats increase”, said Yonker.
Grid Forward Congratulates Project Winners
A number of organizations in the Grid Forward community were also selected to move ahead with final contract negotiations. These projects will transform the communities where they are deployed and share valuable lessons ahead for the industry.
“SMUD is creating a future entirely powered by carbon-free energy, sustained by an advanced, reliable and durable grid that meets the region’s needs while ensuring our rates remain among the lowest in California,” said Paul Lau, Paul Lau, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager at SMUD. “Our commitment to leading the way to a sustainable, decarbonized future focuses on innovative solutions to help ensure all communities benefit. The support from the Department of Energy Grid Deployment Office’s Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership program accelerates our bold vision and underscores the vital role partnerships play on this transformative journey.”
“This is an exciting and rare opportunity to scale two key programs that support our customers, especially those in historically underrepresented and marginalized communities,” said Rohit Nair, PacifiCorp’s director of engineering standards and grid modernization. “Our primary mission is providing safe and reliable electricity to our customers, and we look forward to working with industry partners to build a more resilient and reliable electrical grid.”
A number of very promising proposals were not selected to move ahead. The overall demand for these grid hardening projects made for an extremely competitive selection process.
“We are still absorbing what this means for our plans but the effort and exercise to go through this process has taught us a lot about our utility’s priorities and the ways we need to continue building organizational capability to deliver on those priorities. Indeed, we look forward to the feedback from the Federal program administrators to help us prepare for future opportunities as the agency works through its full funding process ahead”, said Emeka Anyanwu, Energy Innovation and Resources Officer for Seattle City Light.
Grid Forward encourages DOE to continue working through the distribution of these resources as quickly as possible including for next funding opportunity cycles.
Statements from Senators Padilla, Wyden and Cantwell
“With increasingly devastating wildfires across California in recent years, we must continue to invest in clean energy projects that improve our energy grid resilience and strengthen our energy independence. That is why I’m proud to see critical wildfire mitigation funding modeled off of my POWER ON Act go to disadvantage communities with critical energy needs to help minimize the impacts of extreme weather on our electrical grid and ensure access to clean, safe, affordable, and reliable energy.” – Senator Alex Padilla (D, CA):
“Whether it’s been wildfires, windstorms, ice storms or other calamities, Oregon communities in recent years have suffered prolonged power outages among the dangers that arise when the grid goes down. I’m glad to see the Disaster Safe Power Grid Act I fought for, now making the power grid more resilient and helping to bring more renewables online. This major federal investment means Oregonians can feel more secure that they won’t freeze in the winter, bake in the summer and able to count on electricity year-round in their homes and small businesses.” Senator Ron Wyden (D, OR), whose Disaster Safe Power Grid Act became law in 2021 as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“Infusing more intelligence into our nation’s energy grid will make America’s electricity supplies more secure, abundant, and affordable. These grants will spur the smart grid investments we need to help ensure the lights stay on in Washington state during extreme weather conditions, and develop new ways to prevent future outages caused by wildfires.” – Senator Maria Cantwell (D, WA)
About Grid Forward
Grid Forward is a 501(c)(6) non-profit, member-driven trade association dedicated to promoting and accelerating innovation on the regional electric system. We deliver community, expertise and resources for leaders who are working to modernize the grid. Learn more and become a member at GridForward.org.