PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee today announced that Rhode Island's Office of Energy Resources (OER) will be receiving a combined total of $6.6 million in federal funding from the U.S Department of Energy's (DOE) Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grant Program ($3.4 million) and the State Energy Program (SEP) ($3.2 million). This funding will support administrative and programmatic tasks at OER, including energy security planning and enhancing the resiliency of Rhode Island's electric grid system, which will help in advancing the goals with Act on Climate.
"One of my goals is to be able to provide all the communities in Rhode Island with reliable clean energy," said Governor McKee. "With this funding, the Office of Energy Resources will design a grant program that will work with eligible sub-awardees to enhance grid resilience and ensure that every Rhode Islander has access to sustainable energy solutions. This is a significant step in achieving our clean energy goals. I thank our Congressional Delegation for securing these funds and the Biden Administration for their support."
The Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grant Program help modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of climate-driven extreme weather and natural disasters while also ensuring power sector reliability and reduce carbon emissions in all sectors. These grants are supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and administered by DOE's Grid Deployment Office. A total of $207.6 million in grants was awarded to nine states and three tribal nations. Over the next five years, the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants will distribute a total of $2.3 billion to states, territories, and federally recognized tribes.
"I was pleased to help secure this federal funding as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. I have long advocated for hardening our energy grid against climate impacts and led Senate-efforts to fully fund the State Energy Program to support targeted, state-driven energy infrastructure modernization," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
"The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is helping Rhode Island make investments that will shrink the Ocean State's carbon footprint," said U.S. Senator Whitehouse. "This funding will modernize our electric grid so it can deliver affordable clean energy to homes and businesses and make our infrastructure more resilient for generations."
"We can create a lot of good-paying jobs and lower energy costs for working people by transitioning to clean energy, and this federal funding will help make this a reality in Rhode Island," said Rep. Seth Magaziner.
The SEP provides funding to states to support planning activities and programs that help reduce carbon emissions in all sectors of the economy. The BIL also includes provisions to incentivize states to invest in electric transmission and distribution planning and accelerate the use of alternative transportation fuels and vehicle electrification. The BIL appropriated additional formula funds for states and RI's award is $3.2 million.
"This funding will support projects and studies that will help modernize our grid and reduce our carbon emissions," said Acting State Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns. "Our office, along with the collaboration with Governor McKee and the Congressional Delegation, we will continue to grow the State's clean energy portfolio, make strategic investments in our utility system for climate resiliency and achieve the objectives with Act on Climate."
Through the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grant, Rhode Island will work to address electric resilience threats through a bottom-up approach to identify innovative projects with robust municipal collaboration and the state's three utilities. Under the administration of the OER, Rhode Island will hold a competitive selection process to identify projects for which the federal funding will be deployed.
The SEP funding will be used to help support the administrative and programmatic tasks at OER and fund the following initiatives:
· 2025 Climate Change Emissions Report
· Clean Energy Workforce Needs Assessment
· Microgrids for Critical Facilities Feasibility Program
· State Energy Security Plan
The states, territories, and tribes will then award these funds to complete a diverse set of projects, with priority given to efforts that generate the greatest community benefit while providing clean, affordable, and reliable energy.