Electric Co-op Consortium Seeks Infrastructure Funds to Speed Next-Gen Smart Grid Deployments

ARLINGTON, Va. – NRECA Research, the research and development arm of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), today applied for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

If approved, the application will accelerate the deployment of next-generation smart grid technologies at 69 electric co-ops that serve 6.5 million consumers across 26 states. Co-ops will use the funds to complete high-priority grid modernization projects and increase the reliability and resilience of their electric power systems.

“Electric cooperatives are hubs of innovation and are always exploring new ways to meet their consumers’ evolving energy needs,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “This is an important opportunity for co-ops to partner with DOE to accelerate the adoption of new technologies to improve the resilience and affordable operation of the nation’s electric grid.”

NRECA Research’s consortium bid enables smaller co-ops to work together and submit a competitive application for infrastructure funds. It’s also the most effective way to ensure the funding benefits rural disadvantaged communities, a high priority for the administration.

Specific co-op projects in the consortium application cover a range of technologies, including advanced analytics, distribution automation, unmanned aerial systems and second-generation advanced metering infrastructure.

NRECA Research has organized consortia to foster collaboration between co-ops and submit competitive infrastructure funding applications. These consortia are organized around five topics: 

  • Electric vehicles
  • Microgrids
  • Cyber and physical security
  • Natural hazards mitigation
  • Smart grids and data

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing nearly 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.