Senate Passes Package that Supports Significant Investments in the Grid

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The Baton is Now Over to House & Stage Set for $198B Energy Investments in Reconciliation Package 

This week the U.S. Senate voted 69-30 to approve a $1.2 trillion down payment in the future of our nation. At the core are a variety of investments in the infrastructure that powers our communities. 

Grid Forward has been working on the aspects of the package that relate to ensuring modern grid capabilities. Most of the areas we are excited to have in the package are in Division D ‘Energy’, Title 1 ‘Grid Infrastructure & Resiliency’ starting on page 1318 of last week’s introduced bill text. 

Access the bill’s text here (without the amendments that were included in final passage).

Cant breeze through 2700 pages? The 20 pages from 66-85 in this summary from Sen. Cantwell’s office outline the aspects of the energy title. 

In particular, we were especially glad to see critical spending that would occur over the next five years including:

  • Sec. 40101 – $5B for resiliency investments for utilities and others
  • Sec. 40103 – $5B for resiliency and reliability investments to states and $1B for rural communities
  • Sec. 40107 – $3B for smart grid investment grants
  • Sec. 40124 and 40125 – $250M for small utility cyber security and $350M for enhanced grid security models, plans and projects
  • Sec. 40803 – $3.4B for wildfire mitigation (including treatment of 10M acres of forest)

“Today, the Senate passed our bipartisan legislation to help America compete in the 21st century. This success proves to the nation, and the entire world, that Congress is not broken and when we create compromise together, by reaching across the aisle and forging true relationships, we can accomplish big things.”

– Sen. Joe Manchin

There are quite a number of other areas Grid Forward has been following including:

  • Sec. 11401 – Grants for charging infrastructure
  • Sec. 40104 – Utility demand response consideration
  • Sec. 40106 – Anchor tenant transmission program $2.5B (and determination of critical transmission corridors in 40105)
  • Sec. 40110 – BPA’s borrowing authority upping $10B
  • Sec. 40113 – Funds for Columbia River Treaty and improving hydro assets
  • Sec. 40207 – Energy storage second use and recycling demos & domestic manufacturing and supply chain $6B
  • Sec. 40211 – 21st Century Energy workforce advisory board 
  • Sec. 40431 – State commissions considering electrification and EV charging opportunities
  • Sec. 41001 – Storage (including long duration) demos (Other areas of Energy Act of 2020 funded but still not the grid modernization section)
  • Sec. 60102 – Broadband grants for underserved communities $42B
  • Sec. 70201 to 70207 – Commission for wildfire prevention and rehabilitation (and 40102 that includes wildfire in Stafford Act)
  • Sec. 70612 – Cybersecurity grant program for states $1B
  • Sec. 71101 – School buses $2.5B for low and $2.5B for zero emissions
  • Sec. 71102 – Electric Ferry pilots $250M 

“This expansive package includes tens of billions in funding for grid resiliency, modernization and cybersecurity. It’s long overdue and will provide clear benefits for the west and our nation.”

– Bryce Yonker, executive director, Grid Forward

Next up: resolution for reconciliation package

Immediately after the vote for the bipartisan package and after an all night ‘vote-a-rama’, the Senate voted strictly on party lines, for a budget resolution that would lay the foundation for the $3.5T reconciliation package. Details of the reconciliation now will be in the hands of committees with jurisdiction to bring together language likely by mid September, soon after the congressional recess. For now a brief memo outlines instructions for committees including:

  • $198B for Energy – the largest element likely entailing a clean energy spending package
  • $83B for Commerce and Tech – includes technology and community resiliency investments
  • $67B for Environment – likely with the largest aspect around a clean energy accelerator
  • Financing for clean energy & manufacturing tax incentives

Grid Forward supports the advancement of the bipartisan infrastructure package, and calls for the House to take it up as soon as possible. We are also supportive of the reconciliation package ensuring that further critical capabilities of the grid have sufficient support. Total investments on our grid infrastructure remain hundreds of billions of dollars short — further federal support can help ensure as smooth an energy transition as possible.

Let’s get this over the line! If you would like to work with us around outreach in support of the bipartisan bill’s final passage or the aspects of the reconciliation spending package, contact us right away.

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