Thursday, July 13, 2023

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced this week that Oregon will receive nearly $20 million to perform crucial updates to the electrical grid in low-income communities and on Tribal land.

“Oregon families without means and Tribal families in Oregon have been on the front lines of the climate emergency in their communities – some losing power for days due to winter storms, and others losing acres of land from wildfires sparked by aging power lines,” said Wyden, who secured $5 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Oregon and the country to secure the power grid from extreme weather and natural disasters to prevent wildfires. “The climate fight must include a significant investment in making our power grid more resilient to extreme weather events, especially for families trying to make ends meet and the Tribes that have inhabited this land since time immemorial. We cannot wait to act on this public safety issue.”

“Oregonians shouldn’t have to worry about their life being at risk because they’ve been stranded for days or weeks on end without electricity, or because a stray power line spark started a catastrophic wildfire,”Merkley said. “Especially as summer droughts and intense winter storms become more common, now is the time to invest in our power grids and reduce the chance of outages or sparks.”

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded nine states and three tribal nations a combined total of $207.6 million in federal grants. Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these grants will help modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of extreme weather and natural disasters while also ensuring power sector reliability. This funding will ensure all communities have access to affordable, reliable, clean electricity.

“Renewable energy has helped many parts of the country withstand a crippling heat dome, and the President’s Investing in America agenda will increase the amount of clean power sources available on the nation’s grid,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE is excited to announce a continued stream of funding aimed at strengthening America’s workforce and preparing the nation for a more resilient, clean energy future. These grants will help modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of extreme weather and natural disasters while enhancing power sector reliability.”