Across all industries and governmental agencies, it’s clear that cybersecurity will remain a key discussion point in 2022 and well beyond, with the government showing its commitment to improving the nation’s overall cyber posture and resiliency as recently as last fall. In mid-November 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, known as the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal” (BID). Beyond traditional infrastructure spending, the BID also includes several cybersecurity provisions to increase cyber investment across all levels of government. States, localities, tribal and municipal entities will have access to these new federal funds through new grant programs, some requiring degrees of state and federal coordination.
Key funding and grants from the BID include:
- $1 billion in funding to improve the cyber posture of state, local, municipal and tribal governments from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
- Over $1 billion to strengthen cyber resiliency in the energy sector.
- New programs and funding totaling almost $1.5 billion (with more potentially available) for resource mapping, critical minerals and batteries important to the supply chain, electric vehicle battery and second-life funding, and grants for “advanced energy projects.”
- Various proposals for public private partnerships in energy utility infrastructure sector.
With varying eligibility requirements, understanding the goal of each program is key for entities looking to apply. Here’s a closer look at the grant programs from the BID.
State and Local (top)
DHS State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program
Grants are available through DHS CISA for eligible state, local and tribal governments (multi-entity groups allowed) to address cybersecurity threats and risks to technology systems and environments. The program authorizes $1 billion over four years beginning in FY 2022 with 80% of funding designated for local, tribal and territorial governments and 25% to rural areas as defined by census data.
State Energy Security Plans Program: $500 million from FY2022 to FY2026
Eligible states can receive funds for the development, implementation, review and revision of existing state energy security plans. Governors must submit an energy security plan to DHS that assesses existing circumstances across all energy sources and proposes methods for security against all physical and cybersecurity threats, mitigation of energy supply disruptions and ensuring reliable, resilient and secure energy infrastructure.
Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance Program: $250 million from FY2022 to FY2026
Federal grants and technical assistance are available to eligible entities – including rural electric cooperatives and state, local or municipally owned electric utilities, among others – for use in advanced cybersecurity technologies for electric utility systems and to increase their participation in cybersecurity threat information sharing programs. Priority will be given to those with limited cybersecurity resources, who own assets critical to the reliability of the bulk-power system or own defense-critical electric infrastructure.
Enhanced Grid Security Programs: $350 million in grants for improving the cybersecurity posture and resiliency of various energy networks and overall enhancements to Department of Energy (DOE) emergency response capabilities.
- Cybersecurity for the Energy Sector Research, Development, And Demonstration Program: $250 million from FY2022 to FY2026
This program will develop advanced cybersecurity applications and technologies for the energy sector and assess risk by leveraging electric grid architecture. Grants should be used to create pilot demonstration projects for new technologies, develop workforce curriculum for energy sector related cybersecurity and develop improved supply chain concepts for emerging digital components and power electronics.
- Energy Sector Operational Support for Cyber Resilience Program: $50 million from FY2022 to FY2026
The program will enhance and periodically test the emergency response capabilities and coordination of the DOE. Funds will be used to: 1) expand cooperation of the DOE with the intelligence community for energy sector-related threat collection and analysis; and 2) enhance the tools of the DOE and the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) for monitoring the status of the energy sector and expanding industry participation.
- Modeling and Assessing Energy Infrastructure Risk Program: $50 million through FY2022 to FY2026
Through this program, the Secretaries of Energy and Homeland Security are to develop and implement an advanced energy security program to secure energy networks, such as electric, natural gas and oil exploration, transmission and delivery, with the goal of increasing preservation in the face of natural and human made threats and hazards.
Grants may be issued to conduct research and assessments to identify vulnerabilities and critical components that pose major risks to grid security, provide national-level modeling to predict impacts from natural or human-made events, and conduct research on mitigation and recovery solutions for critical components of the electric grid.
Critical Minerals and Batteries (top)
Supply Chains for Clean Energy Technologies
The BID provides many new programs and funding for mapping, critical minerals and batteries important to the supply chain; electric vehicle battery grants and second-life funding; and grants for “advanced energy projects.”
- Earth Mapping Resources Initiative: $320 million over four years beginning in 2022
This initiative will provide topographical, geological, geochemical, and geophysical mapping of critical minerals, while allowing USGS to enter into cooperative agreements with relevant state geological entities. It will also accelerate the integration and consolidation of geospatial and resource data and provide interpretations of subsurface and above ground mineral resource data. Prioritization will be given to mapping and assessing critical minerals.
- Critical Minerals Supply Chain and Reliability
The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to improve the federal permitting and review process for critical minerals including minimizing delays and lowering costs. This includes adhering to existing timelines, establishing clear permitting performance goals, tracking progress and engaging in collaborations with agencies, project sponsors and affected stakeholders.
- Battery Processing and Manufacturing Grants: $3 billion from 2022 to 2026
Funds will ensure that the U.S. has a viable battery materials processing industry and can be used in projects related to battery material processing, recycling and manufacturing. Grants are available in amounts ranging from $50 million to $100 million with priority given to North American entities located and operating in the U.S. using North American-owned intellectual property.
- Electric Drive Vehicle Battery Recycling and Second-Life Application Program: $200 million beginning in 2022
Grant recipient programs should be tailored to address near-term (up to two years), mid-term (up to five years) and long-term (up to 10 years) challenges to recycling electric drive vehicle batteries. Grants may be used for research, development, testing and evaluation related to increasing the rate and productivity of electric drive vehicle battery recycling. They may also be used to create innovative and practical approaches to increase the recycling and second use of electric drive vehicles.
- Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program: $750 million available for four years beginning in 2022
Grants will be provided for projects related to advanced energy manufacturing and recycling that aim to reduce greenhouse emissions, produce or process energy from renewable resources, increase overall energy efficiency and transmission, modernize electrical grid equipment or components, or to capture, remove or use carbon emissions. Grants will be prioritized for eligible entities located near closed coal mines and coal-fired electricity units. Projects will be selected based on the likelihood of providing higher net impact in avoiding greenhouse gas emissions and ability to create higher levels of domestic job creation.
- Critical Minerals Mining and Recycling Research: $100 million per year from 2021 to 2024
Eligible entities may receive awards for basic research to accelerate innovation to advance critical minerals mining, recycling and reclamation strategies and technologies. Potential uses include mapping or developing existing supply chains, advancing critical mineral processing research and technologies or other related projects. Grant awards are capped at $10 million per eligible entity.
Public-Private Partnerships (top)
21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board
The Secretary of Energy is authorized to create and appoint a Board of 10 to 15 members to support and develop a skilled energy workforce. The goal of the Board is to meet current and future energy industry labor needs, provide opportunities to students, and strengthen workforce education and training.
Enhancing Grid Security through Public – Private Partnerships
The Secretaries of Energy and Homeland Security are to promote and advance physical security and cybersecurity of electric utilities by consulting with relevant federal and state regulatory agencies, industry stakeholders and the Electric Reliability Organization. The program should assist electric utilities with threat assessment and cybersecurity training, technical assistance and training to address and mitigate cybersecurity supply chain management risks. It should also increase opportunities for sharing best practices and data collection within the electric sector, as well as other risks related to physical security and cybersecurity.
Energy Cyber Sense Program
The Secretaries of Energy and Homeland Security are authorized to establish a voluntary program to test the cybersecurity of products and technologies intended to be used in the energy sector and bulk-power system. This includes establishing testing processes, maintaining cybersecurity vulnerability reporting and providing technical assistance to utilities, providers, manufacturers and other energy sector stakeholders to mitigate identified cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
HOW TO PREPARE
Many grants and awards under the BID are only available to eligible entities. We recommend being proactive and contacting your legal counsel and advisors now in order to position yourself to take advantage of the various grant programs. Buchanan lawyers and government relations advisors have extensive experience representing state, local, and tribal governments before the Federal government and can offer guidance on how to best navigate the various grant programs within the BID.