US Seeks Public Feedback on $2.5 Billion Transmission Lines Program
The DOE announced awarding $53 million in funds to small clean businesses
May 24, 2022
In a bid to expand and strengthen power transmission lines across the country, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) to collect public input on the structure of the $2.5 billion Transmission Facilitation Program (TFP).
The program is focused on achieving President Biden’s goal of establishing a national grid that runs on 100% clean electricity by 2035.
An innovative revolving fund program, TFP, was created under President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The program is one of the first down payments on over $20 billion of investments under the DOE’s Building a Better Grid Initiative announced last April.
Under the program, large-scale new power lines will receive financial support from the federal government. The existing transmission lines and microgrid connections in select states and territories of the U.S. will be upgraded. The financial support will also help make the grid stronger to resist fluctuating climate changes.
The TFP program would allow the DOE to avail of a loan of up to $2.5 billion to develop and upgrade new high-capacity transmission lines. The DOE will participate in public-private partnerships, undertake capacity contracts with eligible projects and serve as an “anchor customer.”
The first solicitation will be limited to applicants seeking capacity contracts for eligible projects that will commence operation no later than December 31, 2027. Through the capacity contracts, DOE would commit to buying up to 50% of the maximum capacity of the power line for up to four decades. The objective of capacity contracts is that DOE would continuously purchase the capacity until the customer demand is sufficient to cover the costs. The DOE will later remarket the capacity, resulting in the restoration of funds.
$53 million for small clean businesses
The DOE also announced funding awards totaling $53 million for diverse small businesses, supporting 259 clean projects across 38 states covering many major areas, including carbon capture and energy storage in the U.S. The funds will encourage small clean energy businesses to deploy new solutions, a key component of the goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
The DOE administered the recent funding through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The two programs would provide financial aid to technological innovation and facilitate technology transfer between research institutions and small businesses. The DOE said that the awardees of funds under SBIR and STTR programs have recently reported a sales revenue of $1.7 billion.
Earlier this month, the DOE announced funding of $3.16 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand domestic battery production, strengthen domestic supply chains, and create new jobs in America.
Last year, the DOE pledged up to $100 million in financing for research and development of transformative clean energy technology to support the Biden Administration’s climate innovative agenda.