Signed just two years ago on November 15, 2021, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or BIL, is a historic investment in our nation’s critical infrastructure and a major step towards meeting the Biden-Harris Administration’s unprecedented commitment to tackling the climate crisis and achieving a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. Through BIL, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Grid Deployment Office (GDO) is investing more than $26 billion to expand and modernize the electric transmission and distribution systems, increase grid resilience and reliability, and maintain clean energy generation facilities to ensure resource adequacy.
As we celebrate BIL’s second anniversary, let’s take a look at what GDO’s BIL investment has looked like in practice and deployment over the past two years.
Clean, Affordable Energy Across America
Investments through BIL funding are critical to GDO’s mission of maintaining and investing in critical generation facilities, increasing grid resilience, and improving and expanding transmission and distribution systems to provide reliable, affordable electricity to everyone, everywhere. Advanced by BIL, we’ve set up a range of programs that are boosting the country’s ability to provide clean, affordable power when and where people need it.
- The National Transmission Needs Study provides insight into where the grid – and American communities – would benefit from increased transmission, by assessing current and anticipated future capacity constraints and congestion on the Nation’s electric grid. Released in October 2023, the Needs Study doesn’t just highlight our current needs, but assesses existing data to pinpoint current AND near-term future transmission needs to support our clean energy future.
- The Civil Nuclear Credit program administers $6 billion in investment credits to prevent premature retirement of existing zero-carbon nuclear plants. On November 21, 2022, DOE announced the conditional selection of Pacific Gas and Electric’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant, located near Avila Beach, California, to receive the first round of investment credits. Units 1 and 2 at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant were scheduled to be decommissioned in 2024 and 2025, but this conditional award of credits valued at up to $1.1 billion, creates a path forward for Diablo Canyon to remain open.
- The Hydroelectric Incentives program oversees an investment of more than $750 million for existing hydroelectric facilities to improve efficiency, maintain dam safety, reduce environmental impacts, and ensure generators continue to provide emission-free electricity. On October 11, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced 66 hydro facilities throughout the country will receive more than $38 million in incentive payments for electricity generated and sold in calendar years 2021 and 2022. Two additional solicitations have been issued and recipients will be announced in the coming months.
- To accelerate the deployment of transformative projects that will help to ensure the reliability of the power sector’s infrastructure, the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program, announced its first round of competitively selected projects in October 2023. These 58 selections span 44 states and will help bring more than 35 gigawatts of new renewable energy online and invest in 400 microgrids. The application period for the second round of GRIP funding, totaling $3.9 billion, is now open. Projects selected through this second round will deploy Federal funding to maximize grid infrastructure deployment at-scale and leverage private sector and non-federal public capital to advance deployment goals.
- GDO’s Transmission Facilitation Program (TFP) is a revolving $2.5 billion program that will provide federal support to overcome financial hurdles in the development of new large-scale transmission lines, upgrading existing transmission, and connecting microgrids in Alaska, Hawaii, and territories. In October 2023 GDO announced the first three projects selected to enter capacity contract negotiations under TFP—projects that aim to add 3.5 gigawatts of additional capacity throughout the United States, equivalent to powering approximately 3 million homes.
Growing Jobs and the Economy
Driving the creation of good-paying jobs and local economic growth across the country, especially in underserved and traditional energy communities and Tribes, is a priority of the Biden-Harris Administration, DOE, and GDO. BIL investments enable multiple pathways to support these goals.
- The transmission projects selected to enter into capacity contract negotiations under the TFP are anticipated to create a total of more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs across the United States. Many of these will be local, union jobs. Projects are also committed to supporting certification trainings, continuing education, and apprenticeship programs to further encourage workforce development.
- The first round of projects selected under the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program will create and maintain good-paying and union jobs, including through labor partnerships with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The selected projects will all support the President’s Justice40 Initiative to benefit disadvantaged communities.
- The Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants are supporting communities across the United States by investing in state, local, and tribal governments to strengthen and modernize America’s power grid against wildfires, extreme weather, and other natural disasters exacerbated by the climate crisis. This year, we’ve awarded more than $748 million to states, tribes, and territories across the country to drive grid resilience investments and associated jobs.
Across GDO, BIL investments are helping to ensure robust, firm power generation and catalyze the development of thousands of miles of new and upgraded transmission lines. These efforts will reduce electricity costs for hardworking families and small businesses, prevent power outages in the face of extreme weather made worse by the climate crisis, strengthen America’s energy security, create good-paying jobs, and drive innovation and deployment of renewable energy technologies.
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Learn more about the Grid Deployment Office.