Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Helps Secure $100 Million for National Power Infrastructure and Clean Energy Technology

Washington | Dana Youngentob, DC Press Secretary (202-340-9148), August 18, 2021

Washington, D.C.— Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) helped secure $100 million for Build Back Better Challenge Grants in the fiscal year 2022 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. These grants will provide novel methods for energy efficiency to support critical community infrastructure, ensuring Texas can better anticipate and prepare for future disasters.   

In February 2021, Texas suffered a major power crisis due to severe winter storms, ensuing outspread water, food, and power shortages – causing Congressman Cuellar to secure these significant grants. This bill passed the Appropriations Committee and recently passed on the House floor.      

“The devastating and unprecedented winter storms revealed the shortcomings of our state’s energy grid. Many of my constituents in TX-28, already engulfed by the pandemic, suffered without working utilities and electricity. We can’t let this happen again. That’s why I supported legislation that modernizes our electric grid to build energy resilience and keep our communities safe,” said Congressman Cuellar.  “I will continue to work with my state colleagues, like Senator Roland Gutierrez, to ensure our citizens are protected from future weather events.”

“As the representative for the 4th largest natural gas producing district in the state, I also worked to ensure that our energy needs meet the needs of community infrastructure. That’s why I secured language and funding in the Energy & Water Appropriations bill that support local and tribal level energy investments and local workforce development.    

“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for legislation that protects my constituents and supports communities that bear the brunt of weakened infrastructure.”

Additionally, the Congressman secured language for the Build Back Better Challenge Grants that would:   

  • Provide grants to entities for activities and infrastructure that ensure the electric grid is safe and secure from events that may disrupt it, including support for electric grid infrastructure such as transmission and distribution.
  • Provide funding for grants to entities for activities and infrastructure that ensure the electric grid is safe and secure from events that may disrupt it.   
  • Help with projects that advance energy efficiency adoption, building and vehicle electrification, grid modernization, distributed electricity generation, and workforce development at the local level.   
  • Provide funding for clean energy technologies to help communities address climate change, criteria air pollutants, and energy resiliency from climate-related weather events.   
  • Fund clean energy microgrids that support critical community infrastructure and projects in environmental justice communities.   
  • Prioritize contracts to implement grants for minority-owned and operated entities or women-owned and operated entities, and projects that pay wages at rates not less than those prevailing on similar construction, alteration, installation, or repair work in the locality as determined by the Secretary of Labor.    
  • Develop - with units of local government - energy efficiency retrofit programs to conduct energy efficiency audits and purchase energy efficiency upgrades for residential and commercial properties.   
  • Support projects that combine geothermal technologies with other emissions reduction technologies, such as solar, buildings, and efficiency technologies.