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Aug 30 (news release) --  Biden-Harris Administration Launches $10.5 Billion Investment to Strengthen America’s Electric Grid: DOE Seeks Public Feedback on President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Grid Resilience Innovation Programs that Enhance the Power Grid’s Ability to Deliver Cheaper, Cleaner Energy to American Communities

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input on the $10.5 billion Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership Program to enhance the resilience and reliability of America’s electric grid. The RFI seeks information from states, Tribes, communities, utilities, project developers, and other key stakeholders to help refine the funding opportunity announcement that will be made later this year and to guide the implementation of the funding over five years to enhance the electric grid in support of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These programs will accelerate the deployment of transformative projects that will help to ensure the reliability of the power sector’s infrastructure, so all American communities have access to affordable, reliable, clean electricity anytime, anywhere while helping deliver on the President’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035. . . .  

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic investment to upgrade transmission and distribution systems to improve reliability and resilience of the grid and to facilitate the deployment of clean energy across the country. Today’s announcement represents a key step in delivering on DOE’s coordinated grid strategy laid out in the Building a Better Grid Initiative to upgrade the nation’s grid infrastructure, connect more communities to cheaper, cleaner power, ensure the grid can withstand extreme weather, and meet expanding electricity needs across sectors.  

Administered through DOE’s new Grid Deployment Office, the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership Program is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and will enhance grid flexibility, and improve the resilience of the power system against growing threats of extreme weather and climate change. The three programs are:

Grid Resilience Grants ($2.5 billion) support activities that will modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts due to extreme weather and natural disasters. This program will fund comprehensive transformational transmission and distribution technology solutions that will mitigate multiple hazards across a region or within a community, including wildfires, floods, hurricanes, extreme heat, extreme cold, storms, and any other event that can cause a disruption to the power system. This program provides grants to electric grid operators, electricity storage operators, electricity generators, transmission owners or operators, distribution providers, and fuel suppliers.

Smart Grid Grants ($3 billion) increase the flexibility, efficiency, and reliability of the electric power system, with particular focus on increasing capacity of the transmission system, preventing faults that may lead to wildfires or other system disturbances, integrating renewable energy at the transmission and distribution levels, and facilitating the integration of increasing electrified vehicles, buildings, and other grid-edge devices. Smart grid technologies funded and deployed at scale under this program will demonstrate a pathway to wider market adoption. This grant program has broad eligibility, open to domestic entities including institutions of higher education; for-profit entities; non-profit entities; and state and local governmental entities, and tribal nations.

Grid Innovation Program ($5 billion) provides financial assistance to one or multiple states, Tribes, local governments, and public utility commissions to collaborate with electric sector owners and operators to deploy projects that use innovative approaches to transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure to enhance grid resilience and reliability. Broad project applications are of interest including interregional transmission projects, investments that accelerate interconnection of clean energy generation, utilization of distribution grid assets to provide backup power and reduce transmission requirements, and more. Innovative approaches can range from use of advanced technologies to innovative partnerships to the deployment of projects identified by innovative planning processes to many others.

DOE expects to release the final Funding Opportunity Announcement for FY22 and FY23 funding that will solicit concept papers and applications later this year.

DOE is requesting feedback through the RFI on the proposed implementation strategy for these three programs. Comments must be received by October 14, 2022, by 5 p.m. EDT and can be submitted by emailing GDORFI@hq.doe.gov.
RFI excerpts:

[T]his RFI seeks input on:

-- DOE’s implementation strategy for the GRIP program, including the competitive solicitation process, funding opportunity announcement (FOA) structure, prioritization of topics and projects, and assessment criteria. In addition to the overview presented here, the full DRAFT FOA can be found https://www.fedconnect.net/fedconnect/?doc=DE-FOA-0002740&agency=DOE.

-- The alignment of the implementation of the GRIP program in supporting the Biden Administration’s priorities, including:
a. Maximizing Benefits of an upgraded and modernized grid for American communities, including increased resilience and reliability and increased access to affordable, lower￾carbon electricity.
b. Quality Jobs developed through the GRIP program including (a) efforts to attract, train, and retain a skilled workforce and (b) workforce opportunities in communities that have lost jobs due to the displacements of fossil energy jobs.
c. Community Benefits that could be achieved through the GRIP program including diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
d. Implementation of the Justice40 Initiative and the maximizing of benefits to disadvantaged communities, within the GRIP program, and where applicable.  
The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, State and local officials, labor unions, Tribes, community-based organizations (CBOs), and other stakeholders on issues related to the GRIP program. This is a Request for Information (RFI) only and not a funding opportunity. DOE will not pay for information provided under this RFI and no project will be
supported as a result of this RFI.

To help inform DOE’s implementation of the BIL provisions referenced above, this RFI seeks input on the following categories:
1. DOE’s implementation strategy for the GRIP program, both overall and the individual topic areas.
2. DOE’s approach to Community Benefits including engagement, quality jobs, DEIA, and Justice40.
3. Build America, Buy America requirements.

RFI: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-19308

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