2.  | 
  3. Industry
  4.  | 
  5. Energy
  6.  | $206 Million Federal Grant Will Strengthen Alaska’s Electrical Grid Resilience

$206 Million Federal Grant Will Strengthen Alaska’s Electrical Grid Resilience

Oct 25, 2023 | Energy, News

Mehaniq41 | Envato

A federal Department of Energy grant will provide for Anchorage-to-Kenai subsea cable and battery storage throughout the Alaska Railbelt Energy Grid within the next eight years, Alaska Congressional delegation says.

Boosting Resilience

US Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Representative Mary Sattler Peltola on October 18 welcomed a $206.5 million grant awarded to the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) to build a High Voltage Direct Current submarine cable between the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage that will add redundancy to the Alaska Railbelt electrical grid system in the event of disruptive events.

The federal funds for the grant were secured by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, supported by Murkowski and Sullivan and Peltola’s predecessor, the late Congressman Don Young. The three members of the delegation at the time wrote a letter in support of the project.

“When I was negotiating the bipartisan infrastructure law, modernizing Alaska’s energy grid were exactly the type of projects I envisioned,” says Murkowski. “This is an extraordinary opportunity, not only for the Railbelt, but for all of Alaska to share in the benefit. From elevating the Railbelt’s grid resiliency and reliability, to providing greater Power Cost Equalization assistance to rural electric utilities, all Alaskans will see their energy costs lowered when this project reaches completion.”

Current Issue

Alaska Business May 2024 Cover

May 2024

Sullivan says the project will add resiliency throughout the grid.

“Alaskans contend with a host of natural disasters that can disrupt our basic infrastructure—earthquakes, wildfires, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and blizzards, not to mention the extreme fluctuations in temperature between our winter and summer months,” Sullivan says. “Maintaining access to electricity, especially for communities far from larger population centers, can be a matter of life and death during an emergency. I want to congratulate AEA on securing this major $200-plus million-dollar federal grant that we made available through the bipartisan infrastructure law. I look forward to AEA breaking ground on this important project that will have the potential to significantly expand hydroelectric power and other renewables, modernize our state’s electrical grid, help lower the cost of energy for thousands of Alaskans, and go a long way toward keeping our lights and heat on when we need it most.”

Peltola says the project boosts Alaska’s self-reliance and demonstrates the power of Alaska’s delegation working together.

“We’re taking our first step into a cleaner, stronger energy future, with more jobs and lower costs for Alaskans,” Peltola says. “Alaska is an energy powerhouse, from tidal to wind to LNG and more. We shouldn’t have to import expensive Outside energy when we have so many affordable options at our fingertips, and now we have the chance to make our energy grid truly work for Alaskans. This $206.5 million award, with another $206.5 million in matching funds, represents a sea change in Alaska’s energy grid. This project will fund redundant transmission and battery energy storage systems throughout the Railbelt, creating a stronger energy grid that will have more capability to accept and distribute energy from renewable sources throughout the state, bringing more domestic Alaskan energy to power more Alaskan homes and businesses. Once again, Alaskans have showed that when we are united, we can accomplish incredible things. Our utilities, state leadership, and Congressional delegation all worked in unison to advance this plan, and, just like with Willow, we achieved incredible results. I believe this project is central to Alaska’s just energy transition and spoke personally with President [Joe] Biden and [US Energy] Secretary [Jennifer] Granholm about it, emphasizing how Alaska can be an innovative model in grid development for the rest of the country.”

Matching funds are required for the grant, which is being administered by the US Department of Energy Grid Deployment Office, bringing the total project cost to $413 million. The project is estimated to be completed in eight years, and will include multiple battery energy storage systems throughout the Railbelt electrical grid.

Alaska Business May 2024 cover
In This Issue

Making History

May 2024

The track of oil and gas development in Alaska shows the footprints of bold companies and hard-working individuals who shaped the industry in the past and continue to innovate today. The May 2024 issue of Alaska Business explores that history while looking forward to new product development, the energy transition for the fishing fleet, and the ethics of AI tools in business.

Share This