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USA Awards $127MM in Grid Modernization Grant

USA Awards $127 million in Energy Grid Modernization Grant

[RigZone.com]The USA Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $77 million in the second rollout of an electricity supply modernization grant, raising total awards to $127 million.

Seven states, three tribal nations, and the District of Columbia have been selected for the second batch of the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants, a $2.3 billion five-year program to safeguard the grid from natural disasters such as storms and wildfires.

Pennsylvania state gets the highest share with $16.2 million. That is for projects in both rural and urban communities that “improve the health of residents by deploying energy projects that reduce air emissions and greenhouse gases, and promote workforce benefits, including strong labor standards and protections”, the DOE said in a press release Friday.

Given $11.8 million, Iowa State will fund projects that enable faster service restoration.

Nevada state has received $10.5 million to help achieve equitable sharing of the “burdens and benefits of energy production and consumption while reducing the likelihood and consequence of disruptive events”.

Wisconsin state has been allotted $10.2 million for it to “increase the skilled workforce, demonstrate partnerships with training providers, including registered apprenticeships and other joint labor-management training programs, and improve the total number of contractors trained to operate and maintain eligible resilience projects”.

Idaho state’s $9.3 million award is for expanding electrification, addressing weather hazards, enforcing labor standards, and promoting consumer engagement.

Indiana state will work to “ensure the availability of power to critical community services, such as public safety, communications, medical, and transportation systems during disasters”. It has received $9.2 million to secure a workforce capable of this.

The Community Engagement and Public Affairs of Hawaii’s State Energy Office has received $6.1 million.

District of Columbia has been earmarked $3 million to have battery energy storage systems, advanced monitoring and control devices, and other grid solutions.

The DOE has given the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana $711,000 to help it “capture energy savings, generate revenue for reinvestment into the community, and control its energy future”.

The Mohegan Tribe has received $317,000 to “address outdated and failing monitoring and control technology infrastructure and build the Tribal workforce by ensuring that any new resilience measures can be operated and maintained by Tribal members and tribal employees”.

The Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians has been allotted $266,000 for “activities that increase resilience to the devastating effects of wildfires and support electric production during planned and unplanned regional power outages”.

In the first rollout, $50 million has been awarded to four states and two tribal nations: Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, the Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians, and the Navajo Nation.

“As climate change threats intensify and we add more renewable energy to our power system, it is critical that the American people have a safe and resilient electric grid”, Energy Secretary Jennifer M Granholm said in Friday’s announcement.

The DOE has raised the amount for this year’s tranche “to better account for the probability of disruptive events on Tribal lands”, targeting 243 tribes, as stated in an official announcement on May 5. It has also extended the application deadline to August 31 for Indian tribes including Alaska Native Corporations.

The grant is authorized under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed 2021.

Power Interruptions

The latest official data shows electricity consumers experienced over seven hours of interruptions in the USA in 2021.

“When major events—including snowstorms, hurricanes, and wildfires—are excluded, the average duration of interruptions annually remained consistently at around two hours per year from 2013 to 2021”, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on November 14, 2022.

“Customers in Louisiana, Oregon, Texas, Mississippi, and West Virginia experienced the most time with interrupted power in 2021, ranging from almost 19 hours in West Virginia to over 80 hours in Louisiana”, the government agency said.

“Louisiana also had the highest number of power interruptions, followed by Texas”, it added noting 2021 saw “the third-most active Atlantic weather season on record”.

Winter storm Uri in February 2021 resulted in a blackout for about 4.5 million people in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Louisiana was again hit by Hurricane Ida in August 2021 with 1.2 million customers left without power, and yet again saw half a million people without electricity as a result of Hurricane Nicholas arriving around two weeks later, according to the EIA.

“Long interruptions were largely because of extreme weather events”, it said.

To contact the author, email jov.onsat@rigzone.com

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