Following the U.S. Department of Energy‘s (DOE) announcement that the Chattanooga area will benefit from $32.3 million from Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Area 1, EPB outlined its plan to strengthen the resilience of local power services while creating more job opportunities.
As part of its existing infrastructure development plan, EPB will match the new funding dollar for dollar to add energy storage, transition overhead power lines to underground service and replace aging power poles.
“We applied for this funding because it was so well aligned with infrastructure investments we have already planned for enhancing the resilience of local energy services over the next several budget years,” said EPB President and CEO David Wade. “With this grant, we’ll be able to provide a greater positive impact across the community by reducing the likelihood of outages for many more customers using the same budget dollars.”
Officials said EPB will utilize GRIP funding to advance three overarching strategies. The efforts will be prioritized to address the areas that most frequently experience power disruptions from storm damage and other causes:
- Add 15 MW of storage through six 2.5 MW battery installations, primarily in rural and underserved areas.
- Invest in transitioning 101 miles of overhead power lines to underground lines.
- Improve electric system resilience by replacing 1,338 power poles to prevent and minimize damage and outages, especially to withstand future severe weather.
“Every EPB customer will benefit from these projects,” Mr. Wade said. “Anytime we can reduce the potential for damage in areas that experience frequent outages, that frees up more resources to respond more quickly to problems across the community.”
In accordance with the U.S. DOE GRIP program’s emphasis on enhancing economic opportunities, EPB is also utilizing the funding in pursuit of its continuing mission to serve the community by establishing partnerships to increase local job opportunities through training and other programs.