KAUKAUNA — The U.S. Department of Energy this week awarded Kaukauna Utilities (KU) a $3 million to enhance its electric system reliability and upgrade infrastructure.
This funding is through the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program, part of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure bill, according to a news release from Kaukauna Utilities.
The federal program seeks to enhance grid flexibility and improve the resilience of the power system against growing threats of extreme weather and climate change.
“Just like our predecessors before us, we are committed to investing in critical infrastructure that serves the community for generations to come,” said Kaukauna Utilities General Manager, Michael Avanzi. “Our mission at KU is to enhance the quality of life and strengthen the communities we serve. This is just another example of how KU is always striving to achieve this mission.”
Funding is expected to:
- Generate a projected 20% increase in reliability for customers with renewed investment in critical infrastructure serving the community.
- Help maintain low‐cost rates and reliable service for customers and accelerate necessary infrastructure improvements by reducing the financial burden on ratepayers to achieve grid modernization objectives.
- Equip Kaukauna Utilities with the expertise to deploy advanced technologies, including Distributed Fault Location Isolation Service Restoration (D‐FLISR), battery energy storage systems, and microgrids.
- Provide internship and apprenticeship opportunities for students.
“Extreme weather events fueled by climate change will continue to strain the nation’s aging transmission systems, but President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will ensure America’s power grid can provide reliable, affordable power,” U.S Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm was quoted as saying in the news release. “Today’s announcement represents the largest-ever direct investment in critical grid infrastructure, supporting projects that will harden systems, improve energy reliability and affordability—all while generating union jobs for highly skilled workers.”
Kaukauna Utilities was one of 58 projects nationwide to receive federal funding
Funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, the GRIP program leverages federal and private investments to ensure that communities across the nation have a reliable grid that’s prepared for extreme weather while also delivering affordable, clean energy and creating robust local opportunities for economic investment and jobs.
“Congratulations to Kaukauna on winning this highly competitive and beneficial grant,” said Mike Peters, president and CEO of WPPI Energy, wholesale electric power supplier to KU and 50 other locally owned utilities in three states. “Not only will the utility’s forward-thinking project advance the grid flexibility and resilience that is so vital to community well-being, but these efforts will also serve as a model throughout our region for ensuring continued access to reliable, affordable, responsible energy.”