Rhode Island Energy receives initial selection for federal funding to modernize the electric grid
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law could provide utility with up to $50 million to advance smart grid and decarbonization goals.

PROVIDENCE, RI (October 19, 2023) – Rhode Island Energy has been selected to potentially receive up to $50 million in federal funding over five years to modernize Rhode Island’s electric system. In its proposal, Smart Grid for Smart Decarbonization, Rhode Island Energy proposed integrating a variety of advanced technologies to improve visibility and control of the electric grid, strengthen reliability, better enable the electric grid to integrate increased renewable energy resources, and reduce infrastructure costs for customers.

“In our journey towards a carbon-neutral future, as we incorporate more renewable energy into our system and embrace electric vehicles on our roads, it's imperative that our grid evolves accordingly,” said Governor Dan McKee. “This funding from the U.S. Department of Energy will go a long way toward supporting this essential upgrade. We extend our gratitude to our congressional delegation and RI Energy for their diligent efforts in making this grant a reality."

“Clean, distributed energy resources and strategic electrification are necessary to mitigate climate change. At the same time, they can create new operational complexities for utilities across the country,” said Dave Bonenberger, president of Rhode Island Energy. “This federal funding will help us invest in a strong, reliable electric backbone that is capable of supporting smart and affordable decarbonization in the Ocean State.”

“Modernizing the energy system is key to meeting our Act on Climate objectives,” said Acting State Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns. “These enhancements will equip the grid to seamlessly integrate an expanding array of distributed renewable energy resources over the next decade."

Rhode Island Energy’s proposal is fully aligned with its Grid Modernization Plan on file with local regulators. Among the advanced technologies included for support from federal funding are information technology, software, and smart field devices that connect directly to the electric grid. While each of these smart technologies independently offers value, their integration leads to additional benefits. The result is smarter use of our existing electric grid as we interconnect distributed energy resources, electrify transportation and heating, and expect more from a 21st century electric power system.

“Advancing our electric grid is one piece of our strategy to control long-term costs to operate and maintain the electric system and put downward pressure on our customers’ bills,” explained Bonenberger. “Other pieces of this strategy include our rollout of recently approved advanced meters, which will save on operational costs while providing more value to customers. Together, these are critical initiatives that will improve Rhode Island’s electrical system for future generations, and we’re grateful to state leaders and the Congressional delegation for their continued leadership in supporting federal funding opportunities to decrease customer costs.”  

“Across PPL, we’re focused on creating utilities of the future that are agile, innovative and technology-enabled to drive additional value for customers and shareowners and support a reliable, affordable clean energy transition,” said PPL President and Chief Executive Officer Vincent Sorgi. “As we execute our vision, we’re pleased to take advantage of this unique funding opportunity to create savings for our customers and strengthen grid resiliency.”

The federal funding opportunity was highly competitive, with Rhode Island being one of 34 proposals selected out of over 300 submitted. Federal funding is from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, via the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships funding opportunity managed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office. The preliminary selection does not guarantee funding. Over the next several months, Rhode Island Energy will work with the Grid Deployment Office to clarify details of its plan to secure the award.

About Rhode Island Energy

Rhode Island Energy provides essential energy services to over 770,000 customers across Rhode Island through the delivery of electricity or natural gas. Our team of 1,300 employees is dedicated to helping Rhode Island customers and communities thrive, while supporting the transition to a cleaner energy future. Rhode Island Energy is part of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) family of companies addressing energy challenges head-on by building smarter, more resilient and more dynamic power grids and advancing sustainable energy solutions. For more information visit www.RIEnergy.com and stay connected on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


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For further information: Ted Kresse, 401.799.7000