States can begin applying on Wednesdays for more than $2 billion in grants designed to upgrade their electrical grids, part of a program meant to help states prepare for natural disasters like wildland fires and hurricanes.
The fund — which totals $2.3 billion — is part of President Joe Biden’s larger trillion-dollar infrastructure law, passed by Congress last year and designed to overhaul everything from the nation’s water supply systems to its roads and bridges.
The changes to the electrical grid are meant to help states and other potential applicants, including territories and tribal governments, move electrical equipment underground, increase fire resistant components and maintain utility pole upkeep, among other improvements designed to make the system more resistant to external events .
The Department of Energy is administering the initiative.
“Every community deserves a strong and reliable energy grid that can deploy cleaner, cheaper power to homes and businesses,” said Jennifer Granholm, DOE’s secretary, in a statement. “Thanks to the transformative investments in grid infrastructure from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can help protect our neighborhoods, main streets, and downtowns from grid shutdowns during extreme weather events, while creating good-paying jobs in the process.”
The fund is part of a larger pool of infrastructure money earmarked to upgrade the nation’s energy systems, including investments in smart grid expansions and efforts to prevent power outages.
Though approved last year, the infrastructure law is expected to fund projects that will take five to 10 years to implement.