Federal Infrastructure Law: Opportunities for Public Power

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes several potential funding opportunities for public power including for electric and hydrogen vehicle fueling infrastructure, grid resiliency infrastructure, smart grid investments, physical and cybersecurity infrastructure, incentives for hydropower production and efficiency infrastructure, energy efficiency and weatherization, and broadband infrastructure.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, often referred to as the bipartisan infrastructure bill, was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Nov. 15, 2021. The law includes $1.2 trillion in funding, including $550 billion in new federal spending not previously authorized, for transportation, energy, and water infrastructure.

The law includes several potential funding opportunities for public power including for electric and hydrogen vehicle fueling infrastructure, grid resiliency infrastructure, smart grid investments, physical and cybersecurity infrastructure, incentives for hydropower production and efficiency infrastructure, energy efficiency and weatherization, and broadband infrastructure.

Many details, including funding opportunity announcements, specific application and eligibility requirements, and grantmaking timelines, are not yet available from the grantmaking departments and agencies. APPA will update this page as more details become available.

While much of the federal funding will be distributed by federal departments and agencies, some will be directly allocated to the states and territories. APPA encourages members to reach out to their governors, state energy or transportation offices, and state and local representatives to learn more about state funding opportunities.

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Funding opportunities for Public Power

Click on a grouping to learn about funding opportunities by topic or download a summary.

  • Electric and Hydrogen Vehicles

    Grants for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure
    Establishes a grant program, funded at $2.5 billion, at the Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide grants to eligible entities, including public power utilities, for the deployment of electric, hydrogen, propane, or natural gas vehicle infrastructure along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors. Entities are required to contract with a private entity for the acquisition and installation of fueling infrastructure and may use a portion of grant funds to pay a private entity to operate and maintain the infrastructure for up to five years and/or to enter into a cost-sharing agreement with the private entity. Fifty percent of the overall funding is set aside for “Community Grants” for which public power utilities would also be eligible. These grants do not require, but allow for, partnerships with private entities and can be used to deploy fueling infrastructure in public locations, including parking facilities, public buildings, public schools, and parks.

    Additional information about DOT grants can be found here.

    National Electric Vehicle Formula Program
    Appropriates $5 billion, administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and distributed based on the existing highway funding formula, for states to create public electric vehicle charging networks with an overall goal of creating a nationwide charging network.

  • Grid Infrastructure Resiliency & Reliability

    Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resiliency of the Electric Grid
    Establishes a Department of Energy (DOE) grant program, authorized at $5 billion, for which electric grid operators, electricity storage operators, electricity generators, transmission owners or operators, distribution provides, fuel suppliers, and “any other relevant entities” are eligible for grant funding to prevent power disruptions, preventive shut offs, or events in which the electric grid cannot be operated safely due to extreme weather, wildfire, or natural disaster. DOE may make grants directly to eligible entities in addition to a formula grant to be distributed to states and tribes. The program includes a small utility set aside of 30 percent for eligible entities that sell less than four million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per year.

    Additional information about DOE grants can be found here.

    Electric Grid Reliability and Resilience Research, Development, and Demonstration
    Authorizes and appropriates $5 billion for a new competitive DOE program called the “Program Upgrading Our Electric Grid and Ensuring Reliability and Resiliency.” States, Indian tribes, units of local government, and public utility commissions would be eligible to apply for funding to coordinate and collaborate with the electric sector to demonstrate innovative approaches to transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure that harden and enhance resilience and reliability.

    This section also authorizes and appropriates $1 billion for a new DOE program to provide financial assistance to improve the resilience, safety, reliability, and availability of energy in rural and remote areas, which is defined as cities, towns, or unincorporated areas with populations of 10,000 people or less.

    Note: Sec. 40103 requires the Secretary of Energy to provide “Federal Financial Assistance” as defined in section 200.1 of title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, which can include grants, cooperative agreements, direct appropriations, loans, and loan guarantees.

    Additional information about DOE grants can be found here.

    Deployment of Technologies to Enhance Grid Flexibility
    This section reauthorizes and appropriates $3 billion for DOE’s Smart Grid Investment Grant Program. It expands the program to include investments that enable the use of data analytics, software-as-service, the integration of distributed energy resources, EV charging infrastructure, and vehicle-to-grid technologies, and technologies that mitigate impacts of extreme weather events.

    An overview of the Smart Grid Investment program, which was most recently funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, can be found here and a list of previous recipients can be found here. Additional information about DOE grants can be found here.

  • Cybersecurity

    Enhancing Grid Security Through Public-Private Partnerships
    This section requires DOE, in consultation with state regulatory authorities, industry, the Electric Reliability Organization, and other relevant federal agencies, to carry out a program to promote and advance the physical security and cybersecurity of electric utilities, with priority provided to utilities with fewer resources. This section also requires a report to Congress on improving the cybersecurity of electricity distribution systems.

    Additional information about DOE grants can be found here.

    Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technological Assistance Program
    This section establishes and appropriates $250 million to DOE for a new “Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance Program” to provide grants and technical assistance for utilities to detect, respond to, and recover from cybersecurity threats.

    Additional information about DOE grants can be found here.

    Enhanced Grid Security
    Establishes a DOE program to develop advanced cybersecurity applications and technologies for the energy sector, a program to enhance and test emergency response capabilities of DOE, and a program to increase the functional preservation of electric grid operations or natural gas and oil operations in the face of threats and hazards. This section appropriates $250 million for the Cybersecurity for Energy Sector RD&D program, $50 million for the Energy Sector Operational Support for Cyberresilience Program, and $50 million for Modeling and Assessing Energy Infrastructure Risk.

    Additional information about DOE grants can be found here.

  • Carbon Capture, Utilization, Storage, and Transportation Infrastructure

    Carbon Removal
    This section requires DOE to establish four regional direct air capture hubs, defined as a network of direct air capture projects, potential carbon dioxide utilization off-takers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity. This section authorizes and appropriates $3.5 billion for this program.

    Additional information about DOE grants can be found here.

  • Hydropower

    Hydroelectric Production Incentives
    This section authorizes $125 million for hydroelectric production incentives under section 242 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 15881) and raises the payment limit per facility from $750,000 to $1 million.

    Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives
    This section authorizes $75 million for hydroelectric efficiency improvement incentives under section 243 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 15882) and raises the payment limit per facility from $750,000 to $5 million.

    Sections 242 and 243 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) created two DOE programs that encourage utilizing existing dams for power generation: section 242 created a hydropower production incentive program to spur new development on existing infrastructure (non-powered dams and conduits) and section 243 created a program to encourage efficiency improvements at existing hydropower facilities. Section 243 has never received any appropriations and section 242, although originally authorized in 2005, did not receive appropriations until 2014.

    These funding opportunities will likely come from DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office.

    Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectricity Incentives
    This section authorizes and appropriates $553.6 million for a new grant program to make incentive payments to the owners or operators of qualified hydroelectric facilities for capital improvements directly related to supporting grid resiliency, improving dam safety, and environmental enhancements. Incentive payments are limited to 30 percent of the cost of the capital improvement and only one incentive payment of no more than $5 million can be made to a single qualified project per year.

    Additional information about DOE grants can be found here.

  • Energy Efficiency and Building Infrastructure

    Grants for Energy Efficiency Improvements and Renewable Energy Improvements at Public School Facilities
    This section creates and authorizes $500 million for a DOE grant program for improvements, repairs, or renovations that result in a direct reduction in school energy costs, leads to an improvement in teacher and student health, or involves the installation of renewable energy technology or zero-emissions vehicle infrastructure at a public school.

    Additional information about DOE grants can be found here.

    Weatherization Assistance Program
    This section authorizes $3.5 billion for the DOE Weatherization Assistance Program for FY 2022 to remain until expended and would apply to the Weatherization Assistance Program wage requirements for work performed under the program on any multi-family building with more than five units.

    Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program
    This section authorizes $550 million for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program to remain until expended.

    An overview of the EECGBG Program, which was most recently funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, can be found here. The EECBG Program provided grants and technical assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Additional information about DOE grants can be found here.

  • Broadband

    Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure
    This section authorizes $1 billion for a Middle Mile grant program, administered by NTIA for “any broadband infrastructure that does not connect directly to an end-user location, including an anchor institution; and includes leased dark fiber, interoffice transport, backhaul, carrier-neutral internet exchange facilities, carrier-neutral submarine cable landing stations, undersea cables, transport connectivity to data centers, special access transport, and other similar services.” Eligible entities for this program include “a State, political subdivision of a State, Tribal government, technology company, electric utility, utility cooperative, public utility district, telecommunications company, telecommunications cooperative, nonprofit foundation, nonprofit corporation, nonprofit institution, nonprofit association, regional planning counsel [sic], Native entity, or economic development authority.”

    Additional information about NTIA grants can be found here.

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