The U.S. Administration is allocating $13 billion in federal funds to programs for the modernization and expansion of America’s power grid, the White House said on Friday.
The funds, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, are expected to be used for upgrades on transmission lines, which will “reduce electricity costs for families and businesses, prevent power outages in extreme weather, and create good-paying jobs in the clean energy economy,” the Biden Administration said.
To allocate the funds, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced on Friday that first-round applications are open for competitive grants under the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership Programs, which total $10.5 billion in available funding, as well as the $2.5 billion Transmission Facilitation Program.
The programs represent the largest single direct federal investment in critical transmission and distribution infrastructure, the White House said.
The U.S. needs a lot of investment in its aging grid, where an estimated 70% of the transmission lines are over 25 years old
An upgraded transmission system is also one of the critical requirements for the current Administration’s goal of achieving 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2035.
By some estimates, America would need $360 billion invested in transmission through 2030 and $2.4 trillion by 2050 in a “high electrification” scenario. Yet, it’s not only a matter of money, many analysts and industry consultants say. That’s because the U.S. currently lacks a national strategy that clearly defines the roles of policymakers, states, federal agencies, grid operators, and utilities in preparing the transmission system on a national level to handle a surge in renewable power generation, demand from EV charging, and the “electrify everything” drive at home. The regulatory and political issues make investments in the grid more complicated, which could delay much-needed transmission infrastructure updates, and thus push further the timeline of the clean energy goals, analysts say.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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