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Federal funds aim to enhance resilience of Ohio's power grid against extreme weather

AES Ohio powerlines
Jason Reynolds
AES Ohio powerlines

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is giving Ohio $14 million. The money will be used by electric utilities in the state to reduce the likelihood of power outages caused by extreme weather events.

Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather resulting in a higher likelihood of flooding, heat waves, and tornadoes in Ohio.

Dylan Reed, with the Department of Energy, said eligible projects for the new funding include installing underground power lines, weatherizing equipment to withstand extreme cold temperatures, and constructing new substations.

“We're investing in projects that can reduce the likelihood that the power ever goes out," Reed said. "But if it does, how can we make sure that it gets up faster? So instead of the power being out for a week, can we get that down to a day, or a couple of hours?"

Matt Schilling, from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) — the entity distributing the funds, stated projects in low-income communities in Ohio will be prioritized.

“What could be great about this is these funds are going to be in communities, in areas where perhaps that funding has been lacking and or investment has been lacking," Schilling said. "So we're hopeful it will be targeted in ways that will have the greatest community impact."

Chris Welter is the Managing Editor at The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.

Chris got his start in radio in 2017 when he completed a six-month training at the Center for Community Voices. Most recently, he worked as a substitute host and the Environment Reporter at WYSO.