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On October 18, 2023, 58 projects across 44 states were awarded funding to strengthen electric grid resilience and reliability as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (CTWS), a long-standing client of Best Best & Krieger LLP, (BBK) was selected to receive a $250 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy under the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program. 

The CTWS will work in partnership with Portland General Electric (PGE) on a tribal economic sovereignty project that enables enhancements to the existing 230 kV Bethel-Round Butte transmission line - a crucial artery in the region’s transmission system - connecting renewable energy resources east of the Cascades to customers in the Willamette Valley. The project will enable CTWS’s participation in and ownership of new transmission capacity which will directly support its priority of embracing the clean energy economy and increasing opportunities to expand skilled job opportunities for tribal members that support development of generational wealth within Tribal communities. In partnership with  PGE, the effort will upgrade reliability of the infrastructure and PGE will also deploy an artificial intelligence-enabled, grid-edge computing platform to improve the connection of distributed energy resources, such as solar, as well as informed modeling that can predict pre-outage conditions and assist real-time decisions. 

The BBK legal team, led by co-chair of the firm’s Native American practice, Ellen Grover, assisted CTWS in the preparation and submission of the grant application. Grover also provides counsel to the Tribe on its energy enterprise, Warm Springs Power and Water Enterprise, including their renewable energy development and planning efforts. 

GRIP, managed by the DOE’s Grid Deployment Office (GDO), provides funding to initiatives that modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of natural disasters and extreme weather due to climate change. The improvements to the electric grid include increased flexibility, efficiency and a sustainable electric power system incorporating solar, wind, and other clean energy efforts as well as innovative approaches to electricity transmission, storage, and distribution. 

Learn more about the Grid Deployment Office and the GRIP Program.

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