BRIC Microgrid Opportunity Grows as Biden Doubles Funding to $1 Billion

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In an opportunity for microgrids and energy storage, the Biden administration has doubled to $1 billion the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program, a grant program for infrastructure resiliency.

clean energy microgrids

US President Joe Biden. Photo by Shutterstock.com.

The additional funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program will allow more communities to strengthen their defenses against natural disasters, saving lives and preventing billions of dollars of losses, according to the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.

Last year, the United States had 22 weather and climate-related disasters with losses of more than $1 billion each, breaking previous records, the White House said May 24 in announcing a series of climate-related initiatives. Weather damage in 2020 totaled nearly $100 billion.

The annual BRIC program provides grants to states, local communities, tribes and territories so they can take steps to protect infrastructure from disasters.

BRIC attracts microgrids, utilities

The program started last year with $500 million in funding. Cities like Camarillo, California, applied for BRIC funding in last year’s funding round to help pay for planned microgrids.

FEMA received 991 requests for project support in last year’s funding round, which closed in late January. FEMA expects to issue pre-award selection notices in June and announce grant winners later this summer.

The agency received 120 applications for utility and infrastructure protection proposals, the second largest type of application after flood mitigation, according to FEMA.

The utility and infrastructure protection applications totaled $771 million in requested federal funding with $362 million in local funding.

$3.6B already requested

Fifty-three states and territories requested over $3.6 billion, with 62 tribal applications requesting $20.2 million, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Twenty-five states submitted projects with a cumulative amount of $50 million or more federal share and five states submitted applications with cumulative amounts over $200 million federal share, according to an April report by Congress’s research arm.

The White House said the Biden administration is taking a “whole-of-government” approach to climate change, noting that Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan calls for $50 billion in resilience investments.

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