The Biden Administration is committed to reducing U.S. emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a zero-emissions economy by 2050. To reach these goals, we must make the country’s power sector 100% clean by 2035. This requires maintaining, modernizing, and investing in the U.S. power grid.
The Grid Deployment Office (GDO) launched in August 2022 to maintain and invest in critical generation facilities (such as hydropower and nuclear energy), increase grid resilience, and improve and expand transmission and distribution systems to provide reliable, affordable electricity to everyone, everywhere.
Working in strong partnership with energy sector stakeholders on a variety of grid initiatives, GDO deploys its efforts via three divisions: Generation Credits; Transmission; and Grid Modernization. These Divisions leverage unique authorities to drive investment, improve resource adequacy, boost transmission and distribution system resilience, and provide access to expertise, capabilities, and technical assistance on a variety of transformational grid modernization and market strategies.
Many of GDO’s activities support the Building a Better Grid Initiative, which seeks to catalyze nationwide development of new and upgraded high-capacity electric transmission lines and support investments to modernize the flexibility and resilience of the distribution system. The initiative, enabled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), is identifying national transmission and distribution needs and supporting the buildout of long-distance, high-voltage transmission facilities and distribution systems that are critical to reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a zero-emissions economy by 2050.
The Generation Credits Division works with existing generation facilities to ensure resilience and reliability, and works to improve electricity markets at the wholesale and distribution level. Its work includes three programs.
- The Civil Nuclear Credit program oversees a $6 billion investment to prevent premature retirement of existing zero-carbon nuclear plants. The program is available for plants that would otherwise retire and are certified as safe to continue operations.
- The Hydroelectric Incentives program oversees an investment of more than $750 million in existing hydroelectric facilities to improve efficiency, maintain dam safety, reduce environmental impacts, and ensure generators continue to provide emission-free electricity.
- The Wholesale Markets Analysis program works to improve electricity markets at the wholesale and distribution levels, and will conduct resilience modeling, evaluate markets, and assess risk of energy infrastructure.
GDO’s Transmission Division utilizes GDO’s unique tools and authorities for coordination, planning, financing, facilitation, and permitting to drive transmission investment. Division work includes:
- Planning efforts, including the Transmission Needs Study and the National Transmission Planning Study. These studies respectively seek to identify national need and long-term, flexible, and interregional solutions to building a successful transmission network that meets national interests and needs. Additional work includes two offshore wind studies with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office: the Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Study and the Pacific Offshore Wind Transmission Study, both evaluating transmission solutions to enable offshore wind deployment.
- Financing and commercial facilitation programs from BIL and IRA, including the Transmission Facilitation Program (TFP). This $2.5 billion revolving loan fund program will provide Federal support to overcome financial hurdles in the development of large-scale new transmission lines and upgrading existing transmission, as well as the connection of microgrids in select States and U.S. territories. In addition, the Transmission Facility Financing program provides $2 billion in direct loan authority for projects designated to be in the national interest.
- Federal permitting coordination and grid infrastructure, permitting, and technical assistance, including the $760 million Transmission Siting and Economic Development Grants program, which provides funding to siting authorities for transmission projects to support studies on potential impacts of projects, regulatory proceeding participation, and economic development, among other eligible investments.
GDO’s Grid Modernization Division is responsible for developing activities that prevent outages and enhance the reliability and resilience of the electric grid while catalyzing the development of new and upgraded high-capacity electric transmission lines and an improved distribution system nationwide. Its work includes:
- The Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants, a $2.3 billion program that aims to strengthen and modernize the power grid against wildfires, extreme weather, and other natural disasters exacerbated by climate change.
- The Grid Resilience Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program. This $10.5 billion program seeks to enhance grid flexibility and improve the resilience of the power grid through three components: Grid Resilience Utility and Industry Grants; Smart Grid Grants; and the Grid Innovation Program. The Grid Resilience Utility and Industry Grants support activities to modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of extreme weather and natural disasters. Smart Grid Grants increase the flexibility, efficiency, and reliability of the electric power system. The Grid Innovation Program provides financial assistance to deploy projects that use innovative approaches to transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure to enhance grid resilience and reliability.
- Territory and Recovery Assistance, including Puerto Rico Energy Recovery and Resilience efforts. GDO aims to strengthen Puerto Rico’s infrastructure to enhance its resilience while also helping the Territory reach its renewable energy target of 100% by 2050. This includes leading the two-year Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transitions to 100% Renewable Energy Study (PR100) and overseeing the $1 billion Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund.