$10 million grant to support Arkansas electric grid upgrades
September 25 - October 1, 2023
By Antoinette Grajeda
Arkansas will receive more than $10 million in federal funding to enhance the state’s electric grid, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announced in September.
Funding from the Grid Enhancement Grant program will total $5.16 million in the first year and $5.14 million the second year.
“This year’s historic natural disasters underscored the critical importance of our electric grid. We need the grid to run to keep our entire state moving,” Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “This investment will enhance our grid’s resiliency to help in future crisis events, benefitting Arkansans for years to come.”
At least five people died and hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged by tornadoes that struck central Arkansas and the city of Wynne on Mar. 31. Severe weather continued to impact the state this year, including severe storms and straight-line winds on June 25 that prompted the governor last month to request a presidential major disaster declaration.
The money is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Grid Enhancement Grant program seeks to strengthen and modernize America’s power grid against wildfires, extreme weather and other natural disasters, according to the release.
Projects that may qualify for the grant include weatherization technologies and equipment, fire-resistant technologies and fire prevention systems, undergrounding of electrical equipment, utility pole management, relocation of power lines and adaptive protection technologies.
Officials are establishing a process for distributing the grants and DFA will manage the application process. DFA hosted a public hearing and accepted public feedback on this proposed grant program earlier this year.
In addition to the initial $10 million, Finance Department Secretary Jim Hudson said he anticipates more funding will be made available through the program.
“Citizens across the state partnered to support our fellow Arkansans affected by the historic weather events earlier this year. Investing in our grid is one more way we can take action to keep Arkansans safe should we ever face this again,” Hudson said in a statement.
Organizations or companies interested in applying can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Details regarding the application process and timeline will be posted to DFA’s website once they’re finalized.