The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has introduced a funding opportunity of up to $300 million in grants for states, tribes, and local governments to accelerate and streamline siting and permitting procedures for electric transmission projects across the United States.
The new Transmission Siting and Economic Development (TSED) grant program, overseen by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, seeks to address obstacles faced by states and localities in expanding transmission capabilities, in line with the Biden-Harris administration’s plan to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030. The $300 million allocated for Transmission Siting and Economic Development is the first tranche available of a $760 million program established under the Inflation Reduction Act.
The program is designed to address two critical aspects:
- Siting and Permitting: Expanding transmission infrastructure is crucial for ensuring reliable and affordable electricity distribution. Given the growing demand for clean energy and resilience, estimates indicate that transmission systems will need to expand by 60% by 2030 and potentially triple by 2050. The TSED grant program will provide funding to be used for studies, modeling, environmental planning, and public engagement, with the aim of expediting the application processing time.
- Economic Development: Increased investment in electric transmission can yield wide-ranging benefits, including lower energy costs, improved grid reliability, and reduced emissions. The TSED grant program extends these advantages by offering financial backing for economic development projects in communities affected by new transmission projects, prioritizing community engagement, workforce development, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Funding will be available for a range of initiatives such as resilient microgrids, renewable energy integration, essential community facilities, and job training programs.
While transmission developers are not eligible for TSED grants, they can be key partners, collaborating with siting and permitting agencies to streamline workflows and processes. The TSED program is intended to enhance existing developer-funded community benefits initiatives, emphasizing community-driven innovation.
Interested parties must express their intent to apply by submitting concept papers before October 31, 2023, and complete applications are due by April 5, 2024.
DOE will hold an informational webinar on September 14, 2023 at 2 pm ET. Registration is required.