Washington receives $23M million from feds to strengthen electrical grid against disasters

By: - August 29, 2023 5:04 pm
High voltage towers at sunrise.

(Getty Images)

Washington state will receive $23.4 million in federal funding to improve power grid resilience against wildfires and other natural disasters, Washington Sen. Patty Murray’s office announced Tuesday. 

“Making our grid more resilient and more able to withstand extreme weather events is absolutely critical to ensuring that families in Washington state aren’t left in the dark or in dangerous temperatures when disaster strikes,” Murray, a Democrat, said in a statement. 

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants Program and is part of the bipartisan 2021 infrastructure law, a signature part of the Biden administration’s agenda. 

Power outages from severe weather across the United States have doubled in the past two decades, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data. Without updates to the country’s electrical grid, weather-related power outages could cost utility companies and customers billions of dollars, the Government Accountability Office estimated in 2021.

Washington is part of the Western Interconnection power grid and often sends excess power to parts of Canada and 14 other states.

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Grace Deng
Grace Deng

Grace Deng joined the Washington State Standard shortly after graduating from Northwestern University in June 2023. Grace, who currently lives in Tacoma, is a local Washingtonian who was born and raised in Snohomish County. She has previous experience covering statehouse politics and policy for the Minnesota Reformer and the USA TODAY Ohio Network, which includes the Columbus Dispatch, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Akron-Beacon Journal.