Michigan gets nearly $15M federal grant to improve power grid resilience – MLive.com

A power line in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Joel Bissell | MLive.com)
Michigan will receive nearly $15 million in federal grant money to improve the electric grid and reduce the impacts of extreme weather.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced more than $207 million in grants nationwide, including $14.9 million for Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The money is earmarked for last-mile energy delivery for low-income residents and efforts to lessen the risk of severe weather damaging the power grid.
Michigan will spend the grant money over the next two years to increase the number of skilled workers who can do the grid improvement work, as well as support non-wired alternative projects.
State officials said the two-year allocation is part of a larger, five-year federal grant that will in the end total $37.4 million for Michigan. The state will contribute $5.6 million to match the federal grant dollars.
EGLE will use the money for grants to electric utilities and other eligible groups, in collaboration with the Michigan Public Service Commission, said Hugh McDiarmid Jr., EGLE spokesperson.
“This funding opportunity will allow Michigan to focus on improving electric reliability and resilience due to aging infrastructure and the real and costly impacts of the climate crisis,” McDiarmid said.
Related: Michigan’s utilities struggle to keep the power on as climate change intensifies
Work can be expected to include relocating power lines, replacing old overhead conductors and underground cables, vegetation and tree trimming, burying electrical equipment for critical facilities, hardening of power lines, and alternative projects such as battery storage and micro-grids.
U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, both Democrats from Michigan, said this federal funding is critical to bolster the electrical grid’s ability to withstand increasingly strong storms. They agreed this funding will help prevent Michiganders from losing power so frequently.
“Michigan knows firsthand how more frequent extreme weather events – a direct result of the climate crisis – are taking a toll on our state’s electrical grid. This funding is another critical infrastructure investment coming to our state that will help ensure that Michigan households can count on having power, no matter the forecast,” Stabenow said.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the federal agency intended the money to strengthen America’s workforce and prepare the nation for a more resilient, clean energy future.
“These grants will help modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of extreme weather and natural disasters while enhancing power sector reliability,” Granholm said in a statement.
The grants come from the federal grid resilience program for state and tribal governments. In the next five years, the federal program is expected to distribute $2.3 billion to states, territories, and federally recognized tribes.
This round of grants went to nine states and three tribes. California received the largest grant at $67.5 million to advance clean energy, followed by Texas at $60.6 million to reduce grid disruptions, and Oregon with $19.9 million to improve grid resilience for disadvantaged communities and nine tribes.
Other states to receive grants include Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, and Rhode Island. Tribes to receive grants include Metlakatla Indian Community’s Annette Island Reserve and The Native Village of Eagle, both in Alaska, plus the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota.
These federal grid resilience grants are funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Related articles:
Consumers Energy to test burying power lines to bolster grid reliability
Ice storm showcased Michigan’s fragile electric grid. Here’s what could be done to bolster it
Burying power lines, trimming more trees may improve Michigan’s failure-prone power grid
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