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How energy and utilities can access infrastructure spending for clean energy and modernization efforts

The energy and utilities industry has an opportunity to advance its grid modernization and clean energy efforts by tapping into funds allocated in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden on Nov. 15, 2021, includes about $550 billion in new spending with a full $65 billion earmarked for upgrading the national power infrastructure.

Funds will go to initiatives centered on reducing carbon, including the construction of thousands of miles of new transmission lines needed for the expansion of renewables and clean energy. The funding will also support the development, demonstration and deployment of cutting-edge clean energy technologies to speed the industry’s transition to a zero-emission economy. Efforts to clean up Superfund and Brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned gas wells are also eligible for funds under the bill.

grant application diagram

The $65 billion designated for grid infrastructure and resiliency includes:

  • $23 billion to enhance the resiliency of the power infrastructure and investment in renewable energy
  • $21.5 billion to develop clean energy demonstrations and research hubs
  • $9 billion to enhance manufacturing facilities and projects
  • $5 billion to boost energy efficiency and clean energy creation

Funding for the bill will primarily be funneled through the Department of Energy and Department of Transportation and distributed by way of a competitive grant program or annual allocation formula. Money designated for existing programs will be available in the second quarter of 2022 at the earliest, with the bulk of funding expected to be released in the second half of the year.

Companies should already be in the process of responding to funding opportunity announcements by planning preparedness steps and evaluating expected requirements.

What’s your infrastructure play?

In order to take advantage of the near $65 billion designated for energy initiatives including grid infrastructure and resiliency, start by considering the types of projects you are already working on and/or the focus of your corporate social responsibility groups. Projects that could be considered for these funds include a range of activities.

  • Installation and equipping of community-scale renewable energy technologies and systems

    • Small and large wind generation

    • Small and large solar generation

    • Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation

    • Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment

    • Doors and windows

    • High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC)

  • Community efficiency and weatherization
  • Community energy planning, capacity building, technical assistance
  • Electric vehicle (EV) initiatives
  • Water infrastructure improvements
sola panels

Once you’ve considered the types of projects you’re currently pursuing or interested in pursuing in the future, a cost-benefit analysis should be performed to weigh the benefits of receiving government funding against the potential costs. Some of those considerations could include the cost of compliance and the cost of compiling the reporting required for the application and execution of grants. Regulated companies may have additional items to consider, including how available grant money factors into the broader regulatory strategy.

Additional insights on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Modernize

Billions of federal dollars are allocated to road, bridge, rail and other modernization projects, with significant implications for businesses that depend on this infrastructure.

Learn more

Decarbonize

The provisions signal that the drive toward a more sustainable economy powered by low-carbon alternatives—including wind, solar, hydropower and nuclear—is bipartisan and considered to be in the national interest.

Learn more

Secure

Cybersecurity is not optional. The bipartisan deal allocates funding for governments to upgrade their networks, and invests to better secure power and water infrastructures.

Learn more

Fund new infrastructure

The infrastructure agreement draws on unused pandemic relief funds, strengthened tax enforcement for cryptocurrency and other offsets for funding.

Learn more

Contact us

Alan Conkle

Alan Conkle

Principal, Energy, Utilities and Resources Cyber, Risk and Regulatory Leader, PwC US

Philip Koos

Philip Koos

Partner, PwC US

Contact us for help evaluating infrastructure grant opportunities

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