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New England States Issue Invitational Call for Innovative Project Design Concepts to Enhance Grid Resilience and Reliability

Multi-State Invitation Seeks Proposals for Transmission, Storage, and Distribution Infrastructure Projects in Pursuit of Federal Grid Innovation Program Funding

(HARTFORD) — A coalition of New England states today jointly announced a call for project proposals to secure federal funding and advance regional collaboration on grid infrastructure. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Maine Governor’s Energy Office, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the New Hampshire Department of Energy, and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (Participating States), with support from the Vermont Department of Public Service, issued an Invitational Call for Innovative Project Design Concepts to solicit proposals for an anticipated second round of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Grid Innovation Program (GIP) funding.

The GIP, administered through DOE’s $10.5 billion Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program, is intended to fund projects that improve grid reliability and resilience using advanced technologies and innovative partnerships and approaches. The deadline to submit concepts is October 20, 2023.

In pursuing federal funds, the Participating States seek to capture significant benefits for the New England region. Funding through the DOE program would offset costs for transmission, storage, and/or distribution infrastructure projects that support clean energy goals, enhance grid reliability and resilience, and provide necessary innovation in project planning and development.

The invitation requires a robust Community Benefits Plan that describes actions project developers will take related to community engagement, workforce development, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. An important goal of DOE’s GIP is to advance the interests of and opportunities for disadvantaged communities as energy infrastructure is developed across the nation.

Earlier this year, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, with support from New Hampshire and Vermont, submitted a concept paper to DOE for a Joint State Innovation Partnership for Offshore Wind. The concept, submitted during the first round of the GIP, proposed an integrated and expandable transmission network off New England’s coast to interconnect thousands of megawatts of offshore wind. Subsequently, Massachusetts and Connecticut submitted full applications to DOE focused on the onshore upgrades needed to enable an offshore wind transmission network. Massachusetts applied for up to $250 million in federal funding to support significant upgrades to the onshore transmission system to prepare the grid for the interconnection of offshore wind. Similarly, Connecticut’s proposal sought federal funding to upgrade the regional transmission grid in Connecticut to better integrate offshore wind generation. The DOE is expected to announce the first round GIP award recipients later this year.

“Connecticut is excited to invite stakeholder proposals for projects that will make our electricity grid more affordable, reliable, and clean, in partnership with our sister New England states,” said Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes. “In pursuing federal Grid Innovation Program funding, we further seek to ensure that underserved and overburdened communities benefit from these investments to transform and modernize our grid.”

“Developing a stronger, more modern, and more resilient electrical grid is essential for Maine to expand the use of clean energy, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and address the effects of climate change on our people, communities, and environment,” said Dan Burgess, Director of the Maine Governor’s Energy Office. “We look forward to working thoughtfully and collaboratively with the other New England States to seek opportunities in the Grid Innovation Program to create the electricity infrastructure that our region needs today and into the future.”

“As we work to achieve our climate goals and increase the generation of renewable energy in the region, we need to invest in our transmission system to deliver clean energy to our residents and businesses,” said Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Elizabeth Mahony. “GIP funding will offset costs for Massachusetts ratepayers and support our clean energy transition. Our recent RFP to procure up to 3,600 MW of offshore wind generation seeks to capture those savings through alternative developer bids which assume Massachusetts’ first round GIP project is successfully developed.”

“Regional collaboration and investments in our transmission system will help make Rhode Island more resilient, while continuing to advance our 100 percent renewable energy standard by the end of 2033 and meeting our obligations with the state’s Act on Climate law,” said Acting Rhode Island Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns.

About the Grid Innovation Program

The DOE’s GRIP Program is funded through the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The GRIP program provides an opportunity for states, Tribes, local governments, and public utility commissions to apply to the Grid Innovation Program (GIP), which is intended to fund projects that improve grid reliability and resilience using advanced technologies and innovative partnerships and approaches. The DOE is interested in broad project applications, including interregional transmission projects, investments that accelerate the interconnection of clean energy generation, utilization of distribution grid assets to provide backup power and reduce transmission requirements, and more.

The first round GIP award is a matching grant of up to $250 million, with $1 billion available for interregional transmission projects. Through the first round of GIP funding, the DOE anticipates between 4 and 40 awards, with a total of $1.82 billion available. The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the second round of GIP funding has not yet been announced. The Participating States may issue a revised invitation after the DOE releases the FOA for the second round of GIP funding.

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