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Entergy seeking federal grant for Port Arthur infrastructure, electrical grid hardening project

The Pear Ridge-Kolbs-Lakeview project site has the potential to build resilience and reduce the energy burden of the "disadvantage" Port Arthur community.

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Entergy is working on behalf of its customers and communities to secure a government grand to help fund a project in Port Arthur. 

The $79.5 million project would harden Entergy's electric grid in Port Arthur, which would then allow Entergy to better serve almost half a million customers across Southeast Texas, according to a news release from Entergy. 

“Modernizing our electrical grid and enhancing grid flexibility are essential components of building a more resilient power system,” said Eliecer Viamontes, president and CEO of Entergy Texas. “This generational funding opportunity will help strengthen our communities while minimizing the impacts on our customers’ monthly energy bills.” 

The project summited by Entergy Texas’ to the government calls for hardening a total of 900 transmission structures and undergrounding 57 distribution structures and associated spans, according to the release.

These proposed infrastructure improvements would strengthen the grid’s reliability during extreme weather events, which would benefit about 7,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Port Arthur. 

The planned hardening, undergrounding and battery installation activities would increase the strength of Port Arthur’s grid by improving circuit reliability during extreme weather and create a more rapid restoration of the system in the event of mass outages, according to the release.

Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie says he embraces and supports Entergy in its quest to be awarded grant funding.

“The possibility of increased resiliency of electric power delivery is paramount to enhancing the quality of life in Port Arthur. Consideration and subsequent awarding of the requested grant will be an investment in a community striving to overcome adversity and financial challenges," Bartie said. 

Entergy says federal guidelines require that 40% of the overall benefits of certain government investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized and underserved.

For this reason, Entergy selected the proposed Pear Ridge-Kolbs-Lakeview project site because of the potential to build resilience and reduce the energy burden in the Port Arthur community.

Entergy says in Port Arthur, over 90% of residents are defined as “disadvantaged” on multiple levels under federal guidelines. 

 “This project will serve as a stimulus that will spark tremendous economic growth,” said Ron Burton, city manager for the City of Port Arthur. “It’s a great opportunity for a true public-private partnership to achieve a robust energy infrastructure.”

Entergy recently received a letter of encouragement from the federal government to proceed with full applications for the first round of funding, according to the release.

Funding is made available by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Resilience and Innovative Partnerships program. 

The agency is expected to announce final awards by fall 2023.

Winning submissions will receive government funding for half of the project’s cost. 

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