U.S. Department of Energy Awards Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership Projects to State Energy Offices in Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Minnesota

Source: NASEO

On October 18, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $3.5 billion in Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program investments for 58 projects across 44 states to strengthen electric grid resilience and reliability across America. Funded by the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), these projects will leverage more than $8 billion in federal and private investments to deliver affordable, clean electricity to all Americans and ensure that communities across the nation have a reliable grid that is prepared for extreme weather events and other threats. These awards represent a first round of selections under the broader $10.5 billion GRIP Program.

Projects announced in the Grid Innovation Program included the following awards to State Energy Offices or consortia that include State Energy Offices:

A collaborative partnership between the State of Alaska, four Railbelt Regional Electric Cooperatives, a Railbelt municipal utility, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, and local labor unions. The RIR project will incentivize crucial transmission investment through innovative rate-making techniques, and benefit tribal and disadvantaged communities (DACs) within the Railbelt and rural Power Cost Equalization communities by building a resilient, clean, smart, and affordable electrical grid in Alaska.

Together with the Family of Companies (FOC), that supports the Georgia electric cooperatives, GEFA is working on a transformative project that will benefit communities across the state of Georgia. The comprehensive smart grid infrastructure upgrade program includes investments in battery storage, local microgrids, and grid reliability while implementing new transmission lines to link communities.

The goal of the project on the island of Kaua’i is to increase the capability of the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) electrical system to effectively transition to 100% renewable energy. The SCCT project will convert an existing, but stand-by, generator at the Port Allen power station to use as a synchronous condenser providing grid voltage regulation service to further the capability of the system to accommodate 100% dispatch of renewable generation sources.

This project would deploy an innovative technology for expanded renewables dispatch and reliable island grid operation. It adds battery storage and advanced, grid-forming inverters to two existing solar power plants. This will create a hybrid power supply with enhanced dispatchability and greater resource availability, and it will provide important ancillary services including frequency regulation, reactive power and voltage control, and operating reserves.

The State of Louisiana will launch a strategic energy resilience initiative, Hubs for Energy Resilient Operations (HERO), to establish a foundational approach for accelerating more abundant, affordable, and reliable clean energy for greater power resilience in the face of rising extreme weather and more frequent natural disasters. The project will deploy a comprehensive, data-driven integrated community energy planning process as well as a modernized network of Community Resilience Hubs powered by distributed energy resources microgrids.

Leveraging an innovative partnership and collaboration among states, the project will coordinate the planning, design, and construction of five transmission projects across seven Midwest states, known as the Joint Targeted Interconnection Queue (JTIQ) Portfolio. The JTIQ Process replaces the traditional interconnection study approach with a coordinated, long-range, interregional assessment that studies multiple projects at once, resulting in more regionally optimized transmission solutions and an innovative cost-share allocation approach.