US House Lawmakers Reintroduce $1.5 Billion Bill for Clean Energy Microgrids

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A bill offering $1.5 billion a year in grants for clean energy microgrids has been reintroduced in the US House of Representatives, this time arriving to a more favorable climate in Washington, D.C.

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By Cristina Romero Palma/Shutterstock.com

The Energy Resilient Communities Act would help fund clean energy microgrids for critical infrastructure, with a focus on low-income communities and communities of color.

“Through the federal programs established by this legislation, local communities will have access to unparalleled grant funding and technical assistance to develop zero-emission microgrids that will simultaneously tackle the climate crisis while fortifying our essential services and infrastructure to the impacts of future climate disasters,” Rep. Yvette Clarke, one of the bill’s sponsors and a Democrat from New York, said Jan. 25.

Bill reflects Biden goals

The bill was first introduced in October, but since then the Democrats have taken control of the White House and Senate, sharply improving the outlook for the legislation. President Joe Biden has made tackling climate change and environmental justice key elements of his new administration. 

On Wednesday, he signed a climate executive order which, among other things, called for federal procurement to help facilitate a carbon pollution-free electricity sector no later than 2035.

With 39 co-sponsors, the bill authorizes $1.5 billion in annual grants for clean energy microgrids to support critical infrastructure needed after extreme weather events. It also offers $50 million a year for technical assistance.

The legislation reserves at least $150 million of annual funding for grants supporting community-owned energy systems.

State and local governments, territories, tribal agencies, utilities and nonprofit organizations can apply for grants, with a priority given to environmental justice communities.

Other factors that affect the ranking of planned microgrid projects include how effectively they reduce pollution and improve public health, whether they are built on previously used land, whether they support women- and minority-owned businesses and whether the proposed project will be a community-owned energy system.

The grants would support up to 60% of a project’s cost. If the project is in an environmental justice community, the grant could cover up to 90% of the cost.

Eligible infrastructure

Eligible critical infrastructure includes hospitals, grocery stores, community centers, public safety facilities, water systems, public or affordable housing, medical baseline customers and senior housing.

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Comments

  1. “The Energy Resilient Communities Act would help fund clean energy microgrids for critical infrastructure, with a focus on low-income communities and communities of color.”

    The “use” of the word “resilient”, what does it really mean? IF the extremely rare CME event was to happen today, what would happen to the national grid infrastructure? With micro-grids distributed around the nation, what would the effect be? IF a foreign power like North Korea set off a HEMP over the U.S. what would that do to the current grid and a distributed micro-grid infrastructure? There’s going to be a lot of money spent on converting the nations power supply from fueled to renewable energy generation. Old grid infrastructure that allows weaknesses to exist along the grid need to be addressed along the way, spend the money once, get the right results. Screw up and spend until one gets it right is not a plan, it is an exercise in futility.

Trackbacks

  1. […] safe operation of microgrids. Additionally, governments need to recognize that this approach can provide critical infrastructure to lower-income communities and regions most likely to be impacted by climate change. Microgrids represent a form of climate […]

  2. […] safe operation of microgrids. Additionally, governments need to recognize that this approach can provide critical infrastructure to lower-income communities and regions most likely to be impacted by climate change. Microgrids represent a form of climate […]