Signed into law In November 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) aims to drive infrastructure modernization, accelerate the deployment of clean energy, lowergreenhouse gas emissions and increase accessibility and opportunity for consumer-driven sustainability efforts. This historic investment enables utilitiestodevelop and scale clean energy unlike ever before.
To fully maximize the benefits, utilities need to take a closer look at what they are eligible for and understand where IIJA fits in to their organization's goals, current projectsand customerexpectations.
To better gauge where U.S. utilities are in this process, and to get a snapshot of overallawareness, interestand intent to pursue IIJA funding, Itron surveyed 75 U.S. utility executivesin October 2022. Survey participantsincluded mid-level managers or higher who have input on decision-making in the electric, gas and water utility space and are responsible for selling products, working in operations, strategic planning, customer service and/or administrative services.
Here are the highlights:
- 69% of utility executives intendon pursuing IIJA funding while 21% do not, and 9% are unsure.
Accelerating existing projects (33%) and advancing strategic initiatives (30%) are among the top priorities for utility executives who are interested in pursuing IIJA funding.
The top concerns utility executives have about the IIJA process include a lack of support from customers aroundprojects that could increase rates (29%) and a lack offunding (25%).
96% say their state commissions have not informed them about IIJA funding opportunities. Survey participants reported finding out through federal government online sources(22%); trade organization online sources(21%); trade organization personal contacts (20%) and vendor/supplier websites(4%).
Utility executives anticipateIIJA will accelerate grid resiliency (19%), cleaner water (17%) and cleaner air (14%).
Survey participants are looking to fund projects related to electricity (61%), smart cities (24%) and water (15%).
The top smart city priorities indicated by 15% of utility executives areEV charging and traffic management. Additional priorities include flood/rain monitoring, water conservation/quality, streetlights, electronic signageand clean energy (12%).
The top electricity priorities include technology (13%), community partnerships with schools or transit districts (12%), security improvements (9%), R&D (8%) and EV infrastructure management (7%).
The top water priorities indicated by 11% of utility executives include distribution repairs, monitoring/controlling quality of water supply and technology. Additional priorities include water rights information systems, data sharing/water accounting software for supply and demand(9%).
Furthermore, the data showsthat utility executives are unsurehow to applyfundingto existing projects, map the benefits for both ratepayers and their communitiesand manage perceptions on potential cost increase. However, opportunities in grid resiliency (DOE), electrification (DOT)andmanagement of water supply (EPA) look promising in the acceleration ofalready-vetted projects.
What comes next?
There's no question that IIJA marks anexciting milestone in the energy industry, but it only matters ifutilities are equipped to take advantage of it. Itron can help utilities do just that. By lending our insights, technology, servicesand solutions, we canhelp you navigateand leverageIIJA to addressyour utility's needs, enhance existing projects and explore the possibilities.
Read the full IIJAsurvey results. To learn more about the IIJA, visit.
Itron Inc. published this content on 18 January 2023 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by, unedited and unaltered, on 19 January 2023 00:09:05 UTC.