Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week $12.6 million in Clean Energy Fund grants to five utilities in Washington. The governor made the announcement in Seattle at the Northwest Regional Clean Energy Innovation Partnership Workshop hosted by the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Lab. At the event, the governor joined U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell to discuss the Pacific Northwest’s role as an international leader in developing the technologies to power a growing 21st century clean energy economy.
The grants will fund projects proposed by Avista, Seattle City Light, Orcas Power and Light, Snohomish County Public Utility District and Energy Northwest. The utilities and their partners will match the state funding at a minimum ratio of 1 to 1.
“With these awards, our leading utilities will demonstrate how to integrate battery storage with solar energy and stand-alone energy systems, train the workforce to build and maintain these systems, and lead the industry into the clean energy future,” Inslee said.
The Clean Energy Fund strengthens Washington’s position at the forefront of a clean, low-carbon energy future. Through the fund, the state invests in technologies that save energy, cut costs, reduce emissions and create good-paying jobs.
“Gov. Inslee and the state of Washington continue to champion clean energy innovation. Driving innovation is at the core of how our country maintains its leadership in developing clean, low-carbon energy technologies,” said Moniz. “I was pleased to join the governor to highlight innovation, as the Department of Energy is an active partner with Washington and many other states to enhance the U.S. energy security, climate resilience and economic leadership.”
“We know the future will look different as new technologies continue to change the energy landscape. Today, customers are buying, installing and using distributed energy resources, and actually participating in the grid,” said Heather Rosentrater, Avista vice president of energy delivery. “We are committed to ensuring our system will be flexible enough to meet the changing expectations and future needs of consumers.”
- Avista of Spokane will pilot a “shared energy economy” model that allows various energy assets — from solar panels and battery storage to traditional utility assets — to be shared for multiple purposes, including system efficiency and grid resiliency. It will demonstrate how the consumer and utility can each benefit.
- Seattle City Light will create a microgrid at a designated emergency shelter, powered by solar energy. During an emergency, this stand-alone power grid will keep fire stations, community centers and communication networks operating.
- Orcas Power & Light will deploy a community solar system to extend the life of the island’s underwater electricity supply cable.
- Snohomish Public Utility District will combine battery storage, microgrid and solar technologies, connecting this integrated technology to the electric vehicle fleet. It will demonstrate how to leverage batteries in cars to store and use renewable energy.
- Energy Northwest will bring together its 28 utilities with labor leaders at IBEW Local 77, Quanta Services/Potelco and the UW Clean Energy Institute to create a battery and solar competency training facility in the Tri-Cities. This facility will prepare workers for clean energy jobs of the future.