November/December 2023 Issue
Also in this issue: Updated DNR Rules Relax Attorney Letter Requirement for Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water Fund Loans | Lease, License, or Easement? | Wisconsin Court Of Appeals Clarifies Appropriate Use of Vacancy Rate in Tax Assessment Matters
Energy Grant Awards: Congratulations to Kaukauna Utilities
Liz Leonard | 12.07.23
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has begun awarding energy grants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). On October 18th, it was announced that Kaukauna Utilities (KU) received approximately $3 million in funding from the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program. The GRIP program is designed to strengthen the electric grid and provide more reliability in the face of extreme weather events and increased demand. Nationwide, 58 projects were chosen to receive funds among 300 applicants in this first round of GRIP funding. KU was the only Wisconsin-based utility to receive funding.
With this grant, KU plans to upgrade its electric infrastructure to enhance the reliability and resiliency of the grid while maintaining cost effective customer rates. It is anticipated that the project will result in an impressive 20% increase in reliability for customers. As part of the infrastructure upgrade, KU will deploy advanced technologies like Distributed Fault Location Isolation Service Restoration (D‑FLISR), a battery energy storage system, and microgrid. The program will also provide internship and apprenticeship opportunities for students in order to strengthen Wisconsin’s future energy workforce. The technologies deployed as part of this project will serve as a model for the Midwest in its endeavors to increase grid resiliency and reliability going forward.
The DOE recently kicked off the second round of GRIP grant funding, with up to $3.9 billion available. The DOE is prioritizing projects presented by utility consortia which span across multiple utility service territories. The DOE is also looking for programs that can have the greatest impact on disadvantaged communities. Concept papers for the second round of funding are due on January 12, 2024, utilizing a somewhat simplified process as compared to the first round.
This is not the only program offering energy grants. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has released instructions for the first round of its state-administered grid resilience funding. Phase One proposals for that funding opportunity are due February 16, 2024. The PSC also administers the Energy Innovation Grant Program, which begins taking applications for its next round of funding at the end of the month.
Programs are highly competitive, and many have a rolling window of availability. If you are interested in applying for funding, it is important to give yourselves plenty of runway to prepare the application and to seek technical assistance when needed.
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