Strengthening America’s Power Grid Through Microgrids  

The Department of Energy recently announced nearly $3.5 billion in funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to strengthen U.S. power grids. One tranche of this funding will invest specifically in 400 microgrids to boost reliability and resilience. 

 With the ability to operate completely independently or toggle access to the larger grid on and off, microgrids create flexibility and empower choice where needed. In the case of a grid outage, a microgrid can kick on and provide short-term power. Notably, microgrids are also a boon to rural or especially remote communities lacking access to traditional power grids. 

Microgrids enjoy bipartisan support from federal and state leaders with rural constituencies who grapple with high electricity costs and want choice in their power, whether its wind, solar, or other fuels paired with battery storage. Further, microgrids are especially beneficial to nuclear power. Earlier this year, Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) toured a facility developing nuclear-powered microgrids that aims to provide safe and reliable power to even the most remote communities in the Last Frontier.  

“We have more microgrids than anywhere else in the country, perhaps, possibly, the world. A lot of isolated communities, sometimes hundreds and hundreds of miles apart from each other, and currently most of those communities are dependent on diesel generation.” 

— Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) 

CRES is pleased to see investment in this innovative technology that supports an all-of-the-above energy strategy, while providing power to communities across the U.S. and lowering global emissions. 

Microgrid development is one way to strengthen grid resilience and reliability. To learn more about expanding and modernizing the nation’s transmission infrastructure, check out this issue brief from CRES Forum.  

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