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ND set to receive $3.7 million per year for electric grid resilience

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TOM RAFFERTY
/

North Dakota is in line to receive $3.7 million per year for the next five years in federal funding to make the electric grid more resilient.

The North Dakota Transmission Authority will manage the funding, and will soon open up an application process for that money.

The Authority held a public hearing on the grant's rules.

"It's another tool in our tool box for the members," said North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives executive vice president and general manager Josh Kramer.

Kramer told the hearing after the blizzards in April – which caused a number of power outages – an infrastructure task force of co-ops looked at options. And he said the task force is suggesting moving overhead power lines at road crossings underground.

"That's a safety issue," Kramer said. "When we had the outages out west this year, it took days to get the roads cleared. And I think that's one of the ways we can improve resiliency and response."

Kramer said utilities can harden their systems, but the best tool is still restoring power quickly when there is an incident.

"This will help with that," Kramer said.

The money will be awarded to companies based on their past investments in resiliency.

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