February 18, 2022
By Peter Ferrell, Manager, Connectivity and Data Policy
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law last November, is an historic windfall for the electroindustry and an overt commitment to the electrification of America’s infrastructure and economy. In all, the legislation allocates roughly $450 billion in potential funding for various energy and electrification projects. Of this, nearly $30 billion is directed at the electroindustry due to NEMA’s direct Congressional advocacy on dozens of key policy provisions within IIJA.
These enormous sums present fantastic opportunities for NEMA members; however, unless companies know how to apply for and access these funds, they will remain an abstract talking point. Therefore, NEMA is creating a dynamic, sector-specific access portal to help cut through the bureaucratic red tape and avoid confusion. Using NEMA’s existing website, the Infrastructure Portal will direct members of each industry sector as close to their available funds as possible.
It is important to realize that not all IIJA funds are the same; when the funds will be available and how they will be accessed and disbursed will depend on various factors. Funds related to traditional infrastructure projects, such as roadways and bridges, will be allocated primarily through formulas under existing law.
The government will distribute other funds through grants, rebates, or other means from various federal program offices, often on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, applicants may be required to adopt multiple environmental, labor, cybersecurity, and other policy standards into their business plans to qualify. Federal agencies, including the U.S.Department of Energy, are currently requesting information from industry and the public to determine how funds can be best allocated.
The Infrastructure Portal’s five sub-sections – Buildings, Industrial Products & Systems, Lighting, Transportation, Utility Products & Systems – will be updated and developed by a sector-specific task force staffed by NEMA Industry Directors. These task forces will identify funding opportunities as they become available and help determine the best approaches to applying for such funds. Members are encouraged to sign-up for these task forces to receive timely updates. Contact information can be found on the site.