The Department of Energy (DoE) said on July 6 that it will prioritize awards under a $2.3 billion power grid modernization grant funding program to include systems at risk of disruptive events including cyber attacks.

The DoE program is seeking applications from states, Tribal nations, and territories through Sept. 30 for awards under a portion of the grant program that will provide $459 million annual over five years to improve the resilience of the electric grid against “disruptive events.”

The program, which aims to “strengthen and modernize America’s power grid against wildfires, extreme weather, and other natural disasters exacerbated by the climate crisis,” was funded by Congress under bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

“Under this program, priority will be given to projects that will generate the greatest community benefit, whether rural or urban, in reducing the likelihood and consequences of blackouts and power shutdowns because of extreme weather or other disruptive events like cyberattacks,” DoE said.

The Energy Department said that grid resilience activities could include:

  • Utility pole upkeep and removal of trees and other vegetation affecting grid performance;
  • Undergrounding electrical equipment;
  • Relocating or reconductoring powerlines;
  • Improvements to make the grid resistant to extreme weather;
  • Increasing fire resistant components;
  • Implementing monitoring, controls, and advanced modeling for real-time situational awareness; and
  • Integrating distributed energy resources like microgrids and energy storage.

“Every community deserves a strong and reliable energy grid that can deploy cleaner, cheaper power to homes and businesses,” commented Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

“Thanks to the transformative investments in grid infrastructure from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can help protect our neighborhoods, main streets, and downtowns from grid shutdowns during extreme weather events, while creating good-paying jobs in the process.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.