The Biden administration is spending nearly $3.5 billion to upgrade the nation’s electric grid, and many of the supported projects will involve a labor union that has donated overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates and organizations, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced Wednesday.
Allocated via the bipartisan infrastructure law of 2021, the $3.46 billion will further part of President Joe Biden’s pro-union green infrastructure agenda, a key pillar of “Bidenomics,” and will go toward supporting 58 projects across 44 states that intend to make the power grid more resilient in the face of extreme weather events, according to the DOE. Many of the projects that will receive funding from the DOE will be done in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), a labor union which has donated overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates and organizations in recent election cycles, according to OpenSecrets.
“Extreme weather events fueled by climate change will continue to strain the nation’s aging transmission systems, but President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will ensure America’s power grid can provide reliable, affordable power,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said of the funding. “Today’s announcement represents the largest-ever direct investment in critical grid infrastructure, supporting projects that will harden systems, improve energy reliability and affordability—all while generating union jobs for highly skilled workers.” (RELATED: Biden Admin Hands $400K To Eco-Activists Who Fought To Block Key Gas Pipeline)
Biden energy officials just wants you to stop driving https://t.co/RjqeWmBea8
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 20, 2023
The DOE’s funding also aligns with the Biden administration’s Justice40 initiative, which means that 40% of the spending’s benefits will flow to historically “disadvantaged communities,” according to the DOE.
About 75% of the projects covered by this funding are in partnership with the IBEW, according to the DOE. In the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, the union and its affiliates gave more than $9.3 million to Democratic candidates and organizations combined, according to OpenSecrets. The union also lobbied the federal government extensively in 2021 on the infrastructure law which is providing the funding for the project, according to OpenSecrets.
The IBEW gave the Democrat-aligned Senate Majority PAC more than $3.1 million for the 2020 cycle, and it gave the Democratic National Committee Services Corp $670,000 combined in the 2020 and 2022 cycles, according to Open Secrets.
IBEW is also a member of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), a large coalition of labor unions that officially endorsed Biden’s 2020 campaign and has already endorsed his 2024 reelection bid.
The funding is under the purview of the DOE’s $10.5 billion Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program, which bankrolls projects to adapt “the electric grid to reduce impacts of natural disasters and extreme weather worsened by climate change,” while also boosting grid flexibility, efficiency and reliability by focusing on developing more solar, wind and other green energy sources, according to the DOE.
Some projects that will receive backing from the DOE’s announced funding include wildfire assessment and resilience upgrades in Midwestern and Western states prone to forest fires, emergency “microgrids” in Michigan and two initiatives in Louisiana to enhance protection of “disadvantaged communities” in extreme weather events like hurricanes, according to the DOE.
The White House, the DOE and IBEW did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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