Lake Worth Beach, FL – February 15, 2024-Lake Worth Beach has been awarded a historic grant for Infrastructure Advancement under the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), amounting to $23,462,167.00. This grant, matched equally by the city, totals an impressive $46,924,334.00 in investments
Transformative Projects and Community Impact
The awarded funds will facilitate a series of transformative projects in Lake Worth Beach, including:
- Interconnection and Battery Storage for Community Solar: Enhancing the electric distribution system to integrate a battery energy storage system with existing solar installations, allowing for additional solar capacity.
- Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) System: Implementing a bidirectional communication system to improve grid visibility and operational efficiency.
- Meter Data Management (MDM) System: Establishing a system to effectively manage and utilize AMI data for demand load management.
- Sectionalizing Devices: Enhancing grid reliability with quick power restoration capabilities through advanced reclosers and sectionalizing devices.
- Fiber Optics Installation: Upgrading secure communication and data flow across the electric distribution network.
These initiatives are expected to reduce power outages in disadvantaged communities by 50% within four years and create 100–125 high-quality jobs. At least ten contracts will be awarded to small, local, minority, women, and/or veteran businesses, promoting inclusive economic growth.
Unprecedented Impact and Community Engagement
This grant signifies more than just an investment in infrastructure; it’s a testament to Lake Worth Beach’s commitment to improving the reliability of its electric system. The grant’s size relative to the city’s customer base has garnered national attention, reflective of the need to invest in infrastructure of coastal communities. .
The city’s plan includes extensive community outreach and education, particularly focusing on renewable energy awareness in schools. This approach not only enhances infrastructure but also embeds sustainability in the community’s consciousness.
Toward a Sustainable and Competitive Future
Mayor Betty Resch emphasizes, ” . We are set to enhance our electrical infrastructure, bolster reliability, and pave the way for a greener city.”
The city’s commitment is also reflected in its competitive pricing for residential customers. Over the past six years, Lake Worth Beach has been persistent in its efforts to change its reputation from being one of the highest-cost utilities in the state to one of the most cost-competitive. As of December 2023, the utility’s rates for the benchmark residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month now rank 8th lowest in the state of Florida, with even lower rates reflective of decreasing purchased power costs already approved effective March 1, 2024.
Lake Worth Beach’s DOE grant is a landmark achievement, signaling a transformative phase in the city’s journey toward a sustainable and resilient future. By leveraging these funds effectively, Lake Worth Beach is not just upgrading its infrastructure but also setting a new standard for small cities in efficient, renewable, and equitable utility services.
Ed Liberty, Director of the Lake Worth Beach Electric Utility
Adds Betty Resch, Mayor of Lake Worth Beach “Yesterday the City Commission was able to tour the inside of the substation prior to it being energized and celebrated this wonderful achievement with a ribbon cutting on site. The team behind the work were able to answer Commissioner’s questions and let them get us up close to the parts of the station before it’s energized with to 26,400 volts of electricity”.
The City’s electric utility is currently underway with upwards of $60 million in system improvements under its SHRIP initiative in recognition of the need to modernize its electric utility to meet the needs of the community, allow for implementation of new technologies, and ensure adequate capacity for growth. Funding for the project is being provided via the sale of revenue bonds conducted in 2020 with an additional $40 million in bond sales planned for June 2022.