Alaska Delegation welcomes $206 million DOE grant strengthening Alaska’s electrical grid resilience


U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (both R-Alaska), and Representative Mary Sattler Peltola (D-Alaska), Wednesday welcomed a $206.5 million grant awarded to the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) to build a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) submarine cable between the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage that will add redundancy to the Alaska Railbelt electrical grid system in the event of disruptive events.

The federal funds for the grant were secured by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), supported by Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan, and Rep. Peltola’s predecessor, the late Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska). 

All three members of the delegation wrote a letter in support of the project.

“When I was negotiating the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, modernizing Alaska’s energy grid were exactly the type of projects I envisioned,” said Sen. Murkowski. “This is an extraordinary opportunity, not only for the Railbelt, but for all of Alaska to share in the benefit. From elevating the Railbelt’s grid resiliency and reliability, to providing greater Power Cost Equalization assistance to rural electric utilities, all Alaskans will see their energy costs lowered when this project reaches completion.”

“Alaskans contend with a host of natural disasters that can disrupt our basic infrastructure—earthquakes, wildfires, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and blizzards, not to mention the extreme fluctuations in temperature between our winter and summer months,” said Sen. Sullivan. “Maintaining access to electricity, especially for communities far from larger population centers, can be a matter of life and death during an emergency. I want to congratulate AEA on securing this major $200+ million-dollar federal grant that we made available through the bipartisan infrastructure law. I look forward to AEA breaking ground on this important project that will have the potential to significantly expand hydroelectric power and other renewables, modernize our state’s electrical grid, help lower the cost of energy for thousands of Alaskans, and go a long way toward keeping our lights and heat on when we need it most.”

“We’re taking our first step into a cleaner, stronger energy future, with more jobs and lower costs for Alaskans,” said Rep. Peltola. “Alaska is an energy powerhouse, from tidal to wind to LNG and more. We shouldn’t have to import expensive Outside energy when we have so many affordable options at our fingertips, and now we have the chance to make our energy grid truly work for Alaskans. This $206.5 million award, with another $206.5 million in matching funds, represents a sea change in Alaska’s energy grid. This project will fund redundant transmission and battery energy storage systems throughout the Railbelt, creating a stronger energy grid that will have more capability to accept and distribute energy from renewable sources throughout the state, bringing more domestic Alaskan energy to power more Alaskan homes and businesses.”

AEA is providing 100 percent matching funds for the grant, which is being administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Grid Deployment Office (GDO), bringing the total project cost to $413 million.

The project is estimated to reach completion in eight years and will include multiple battery energy storage systems (BESS) throughout the Railbelt electrical grid.