Washington, D.C., November 6, 2021 – Yesterday, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will help bring America’s grid into the 21st century. The package includes two new programs which will feature Grid Enhancing Technologies (GETs) in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) transmission policy.
The new DOE Transmission Facilitation Program will enable capacity contracts for new transmission lines in addition to loans and technical assistance to transmission developers. The legislation calls on the DOE to prioritize projects that use Grid Enhancing Technologies (GETs.)
The legislation also includes $3 billion in new funding for the Smart Grid Investment Grant program (SGIG), and an expanded list of eligible technologies including GETs.
From 2010 to 2015, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided $3.4 billion to fund 99 projects under the SGIG program resulting in $8 billion in grid modernization. Only 13 projects were applied on the transmission system, representing 6% of the total budget. The grants installed over 1,300 synchrophasors, which have improved grid operator situational awareness and helped prevent and rapidly resolve outages.
“The highway network benefits more from a paved road than a gravel road, and the transmission network benefits more from advanced transmission technology than standard lines,” said Jay Caspary, Vice President at Grid Strategies LLC. “These programs are right to advance transmission projects that utilize Grid Enhancing Technologies, and the WATT Coalition will be a resource to those who are looking to build optimized grid infrastructure.”
“Grid Enhancing Technologies pay back their investment costs through operational cost savings, and create long-term value by solving critical reliability needs and enabling greater renewable energy development, which comes with jobs and a new local tax base,” said Ted Bloch-Rubin, Chair of the WATT Coalition and Director of Business Development, Americas, at Smart Wires Inc. “Explicitly including Dynamic Line Ratings, Advanced Power Flow Control, and Topology Optimization in this continuation of the Smart Grid Investment Grant program is a boon to customers and operators, and will help utilities increase their experience with this suite of technologies.”