Grid Innovation Program

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), was signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021. The law provides for significant funding opportunities for energy infrastructure projects, some of which are to be awarded through the states. On November 18, 2022, the DOE issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the $10.5 billion Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program, which includes the $5 billion Grid Innovation Program (GIP)

About the GIP

The GIP is intended to fund projects that improve grid reliability and resilience using advanced technologies and innovative partnerships and approaches. States are among the entities eligible to apply for GIP funding, with up to $1.82 billion in funding available for the first round of project awards. Individual project awards may be up to $250 million, or up to $1 billion for interregional transmission projects. 

Addressing Maine and New England’s longstanding overreliance on expensive, polluting fossil fuels by transitioning to affordable, reliable, clean energy will require substantial new grid infrastructure investment in the coming decades. Federal support through programs such as GIP will be critical to advance innovative and collaborative projects.  The GEO submitted three concept papers for DOE’s consideration, summarized below.  

Joint State Innovation Partnership for Offshore Wind 

Maine joined Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts to submit a proposal to DOE, with the support of New Hampshire and Vermont, for innovative electricity transmission proposals that would grow the region’s supply of clean, reliable, and affordable energy. The proposed partnership between states, transmission providers, and wind developers, working closely with the New England grid operator, would proactively plan, identify, and select a portfolio of transmission projects needed to unlock the region’s significant offshore wind potential, improve grid reliability and resiliency, and invest in job growth and quality.  

By pursuing this regional approach, the states aim to optimize transmission infrastructure investments and provide benefits, including cost savings and winter reliability, for residents and businesses across all of New England. More information on this regional collaborative effort is available here.  

Northern Maine Renewable Energy Development Program  

The Northern Maine Renewable Energy Development Program project would support GIP program goals by addressing key system needs and challenges that cause or contribute to long interconnection queue times for clean energy, as well as increasing supply of diverse sets of location-constrained energy resources to enhance resource adequacy and reduce renewable curtailment.  

The recent approval of the LS Power transmission project, as well as the accompanying 1,000 megawatt Longroad Energy King Pine Wind project, will enable the integration of a substantial volume of renewable power from Aroostook county into the New England grid. The projects were selected by the Maine Public Utilities Commission under the Northern Maine Renewable Energy Development Program, which was established by the Maine Legislature to unlock substantial renewable energy resources in Northern Maine. The LS Power transmission project, alongside the Longroad Energy King Pine Wind generation project, has the potential to provide substantial local and regional economic and community benefits.  

The Northern Maine Renewable Energy Development Program Project concept paper was submitted by Maine and Massachusetts with support from Connecticut.  

Maine Grid Innovation Program for Improved Reliability, Resilience and Renewable Energy Integration 

The Maine Grid Innovation Program for Improved Reliability, Resilience and Renewable Energy Integration proposes to solve complex infrastructure and coordination challenges that threaten to frustrate the State of Maine’s objectives to improve reliability and resiliency through the integration of new renewable energy resources. To meaningfully achieve these objectives the proposed program would implement innovative collaborative methods to deploy project funds to address identified electric system needs with input from stakeholders including priority populations and disadvantaged communities. The project would result in deployment of a suite of innovative technologies to address identified transmission and distribution system improvements necessary to integrate proposed renewable energy resources and improve system reliability and resiliency with a focus on investments in priority communities. 

The project will specifically meet DOE’s objective of facilitating coordination between eligible state entities and electric sector owners and operators by leveraging the significant investments made to date by renewable energy developers and investor-owned utilities in the state to study and identify necessary upgrades driven by Maine’s ambitious decarbonization programs. This coordinated effort between project partners, eligible entities, and the public will involve  the  initiation  of  a comprehensive, stakeholder-informed process to select and fund, through competitive solicitations or other applicable process, transmission and distribution system improvements that meet the DOE program objectives in addition to Maine’s ambitious climate and resilience goals. 

The Maine Grid Innovation program for Improved Reliability, Resilience and Renewable Energy Integration concept paper was submitted by the Maine Governor’s Energy Office. 

Next Steps 

GEO was notified in March 2023 that the Joint State Innovation Partnership concept paper was approved by DOE and the states were encouraged by DOE to proceed for a full application. Should the GEO receive encouragement to move forward with some or all of the concept papers, a full application may include elements such as finalized project and/or technology description, as well as the development of a community benefits plan that describes community and labor engagement, workforce continuity, diversity, equity and inclusion and alignment with Justice40.   

To sign up for updates regarding federal funding opportunities, including the GIP program, please fill out this form.