By KENNETH HARRISSTEINA NEW YORK, April 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a $3.5 billion grant on Wednesday to buy $100 billion worth of equipment to restore the country’s electric grid to normalcy, a step the commission said it would consider at its next meeting in June.

The approval, announced by the Federal Energy Administration, will be used to purchase more than 3,600 miles of new transmission lines and expand the grid to 4.2 million homes.

The agency said the money will be made available to help reduce carbon emissions, improve reliability and expand access to the grid.

The funds will go to purchase a variety of electric infrastructure, from new transmission poles to electric transformers to high-voltage cables and transformers.

A full list of the approved projects is below.

A total of $1.5 trillion has been earmarked for energy projects in the United States since the financial crisis in 2008, but the majority of the money has been spent on new infrastructure rather than on buying new power lines or upgrading existing ones.

The funding was included in the budget for the 2017-2022 federal fiscal year.

The $3bn will go toward the purchase of 1,200 miles of high-speed transmission lines to connect existing and future electric power plants, including power plants on state lines that are not currently built and power plants that will be built.

The commission said the purchase would also help to increase reliability of the nation’s power grid by adding a backup source of power when the grid fails.

The cost of the equipment is about $60 million per mile, the agency said.

(Reporting by Karen Bleier; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Tags: