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Louisiana will receive a $250 million federal grant to provide a backup plan for communities that lose power during a natural disaster.
Money for the so-called resilience hubs will come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and see a $250 million match from state partners. It will be used to build sites powered by clean energy sources, such as solar panels.
“Extended power outages are one of the biggest threats to our communities as they respond to and recover from hurricanes and natural disasters,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.. “This program will help keep the power on after storms at important community locations, eliminating some of the challenges that follow extreme weather —staying healthy and cool, keeping in touch with loved ones, and accessing other services.”
The resilience hubs will be placed at critical facilities or shelters within a community and include a clean energy source, long-duration energy storage and grid technologies to improve emergency response operations. The locations were chosen from communities in the state deemed most vulnerable to extended outages based on income levels, flooding risk and building loss risk.
Louisiana’s grant award was the third-largest out of 58 projects the U.S. Department of Energy announced Wednesday. A separate grant of nearly $55 million was awarded to Entergy New Orleans, which said it will use the money for a “grid hardening and battery microgrid” project.
News of the grant awards is being celebrated by Together Louisiana. The coalition of civic and religious groups has plans to create “community lighthouses” throughout state that are essentially the model for the resiliency hubs. Together Louisiana has already opened the first four of its 16 pilot lighthouses and ultimately will have 86 in its network.
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