The Texas Division of Emergency Management will receive $60.6 million from the federal government to help utilities strengthen infrastructure on the state’s electricity grid.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday that it will award the funds so that Texas’ power grid might better withstand extreme weather events. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created the grant program.
“These grants will help modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of extreme weather and natural disasters while enhancing power sector reliability,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
State emergency officials will develop parameters for how to use the money. The funds could go toward programs such as trimming trees around power lines or improving how equipment functions in extreme heat or cold, for example.
The TDEM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Grid resilience has been top of mind for Texans since the 2021 winter storm forced power grid operators to call for electricity cuts to millions in the state. Hundreds of people died as the freezing weather took hold and residents could no longer heat their homes.
Texas legislators later required power generators to better prepare their equipment for extreme weather, but recent storms have showed the ongoing vulnerability of the transmission system.
A winter storm in late January and early February knocked out power in various parts of the state, including Austin, where tree limbs weighed down with ice fell onto power lines. Severe storms in June took out power lines in East Texas.
The Department of Energy plans to give out $2.3 billion over the next five years to states, territories and tribes to address power grid resilience issues.