As a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE, USDA and EPA have tens of billions of dollars to invest in the electricity system, including has $10.5 billion to spend over five years to, “prevent outages and enhance the resilience of the electric grid, deploy technologies to enhance grid flexibility, and demonstrate innovative approaches to power sector infrastructure resilience and reliability.”
BEL continues to sift through the various programs to bring actionable opportunities to our sponsors, including small cooperatives and munis.
BEL staff gathered input from members and stakeholders and sent comments to DOE last month in response to the agency’s request for information (RFI) for $10.5 billion available for DOE’s resiliency program, for example. BEL urged the agency to:
- Enable participation by small public power utilities (PPUs) and electric co-operatives—entities that often lack the experience and capacity to successfully apply for and manage federal funding—through consortia and collaboratives, or through the facilitation of an experienced nonprofit such as BEL that can aggregate and oversee multiple utility projects.
- Invest in projects that scale technology to integrate vehicle batteries and smart devices in homes and businesses into the grid.
- Consider innovative approaches to overcoming traditional grid challenges, with priority on projects and technologies that can be easily replicated or scaled across a broad spectrum of utilities.
- Recognizing that the grid of the future cannot be fully envisioned yet, avoid one-size-fits- all approaches and emphasize high-value projects that will promote grid flexibility and resilience.
Additional programs BEL is monitoring include a DOE provision for part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which allocated $1 billion to improve energy systems in rural or remote areas of the country with fewer than 10,000 and various USDA and EPA programs. BEL plans to update sponsors when actionable information is available.