Illinois receives $16 million to bolster power grid

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has granted $16 million through its Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula to help small municipal and co-op utilities improve the power grid.

Governor JB Pritzker said the need to fortify the power grid is urgent, due to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters, explaining the grant’s role in funding clean energy projects and supporting disadvantaged communities.

“This funding will help support local, good-paying jobs and a vibrant local economy with opportunities for all,” said Chris Meister, Illinois Finance Authority executive director. “This coordinated federal and state approach also allows a productive partnership with the Illinois Municipal Utilities Association, the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, and their member utilities to address this essential need.”

The Illinois Finance Authority/Climate Bank (IFA/CB) will lead a competitive selection process in the coming months to identify projects targeting reliability and resilience improvements, with a focus on disadvantaged communities vulnerable to climate change impacts. The grant aims to promote equity by enhancing access and opportunities for underserved residents and businesses while aiding communities and small utilities in grid resiliency planning and investment.

Over the next five years, the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants will disburse a total of $2.3 billion to states, territories, and Tribes. These funds will be allocated to eligible entities for a diverse array of projects, with a priority on those offering maximum community benefit and delivering clean, affordable, and reliable energy.

This grant represents the first direct allocation of federal funds to IFA/CB since the creation of the Illinois Climate Bank in September 2021, reinforcing the state’s commitment to sustainable energy solutions. The Illinois Municipal Utilities Association and the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives expressed their appreciation for the grant, highlighting the positive impact it will have on grid reliability, resilience, and affordability for residents and businesses across the state.

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