Category Archives: Community Grants

Commerce awards $11.8 million for local energy efficiency and solar projects

Grants will lower energy costs in public buildings and create an estimated 514 jobs in communities across Washington state

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced $11.8 million in energy efficiency and solar grants to help reduce energy costs at six higher education institutions, 27 local governments, four state agencies and 15 K-12 public school districts. Commerce awarded $8.3 million for energy efficiency projects and $3.4 million for solar photovoltaic projects. See the full list of projects.

Construction spending on these projects will create an estimated 514 jobs. The total cost for all the projects is $51.9 million, including $39.8 million in non-state funds.

“Investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency are vital to creating strong, resilient communities all over Washington state,” said state Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “These grants create good jobs, save taxpayers money by reducing energy use and operating costs over the life of the projects, and help secure our clean energy future.”

“Kettle Falls as a small community appreciates the continued support of the Department of Commerce in affording us the opportunity to use renewable energy and furthering our goal of reducing our expenditures,” said Kettle Falls mayor Dorothy Slagle.

“Thanks to a grant award of $324,524, the South Kitsap School District will be able to perform in excess of $1.3 million in facility improvements at 10 locations. We are excited for this, our fourth round of energy saving projects, and continue our efforts to achieve maximum energy efficiency,” said Superintendent Karst Brandsma. “With these improvements, we expect to see more than $66,000 annually in energy savings. These types of funding programs are very important, and we wish to thank the Department of Commerce for their support.”

The grants are awarded through a competitive process and must be used for energy and operational cost saving and solar installations.

The 2015 Legislature appropriated $25 million for the statewide energy efficiency and solar grants program, specifying at least $5.7 million for projects that involve the purchase and installation of solar energy systems with a preference for Washington-manufactured systems. It also targeted small cities and towns (populations of 5,000 or less) to receive at least 10 percent of each competitive funding round.

The city of Camas received three separate local energy efficiency grants in earlier funding rounds: two for facilities upgrades and one to convert street lights to LED.

“One facility HVAC upgrade has already shown savings of over $26,500 per year for the first two years – 55 percent more per year than projected!” said Steve Wall, Camas public works director. “The second facility and LED street lights are expected to save an additional $100,000 and $22,000 per year, respectively. The Department of Commerce provides terrific support throughout the process and the savings generated have allowed the city to invest in other important services and projects that are underfunded,” he added.

For more information, visit the Energy Efficiency page on the Commerce website.

Contact:

Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

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Community Economic Revitalization Board invests $4.9 million in nine counties

Two of largest projects include private partner investments of $120 million by Sunnyside Community Hospital Association for new hospital construction and $10 million by KW Partners/FedEx at Port of Everett.

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) today approved $4,956,250 in grants and low-interest loans for public infrastructure development and economic feasibility studies in nine counties across the state. The projects target business growth and job creation in Chelan, Clallam, Cowlitz, Grant, Lewis, Lincoln, Snohomish, Walla Walla, and Yakima counties.

Two of the largest projects – Sunnyside Community Hospital and Riverside Business Park at the Port of Everett – bring $130 million in committed private partner investment. A third big construction project at the Port of Chehalis, estimates $30 million will be invested there.

Chelan County – $50,000 grant to the Port of Chelan County for a feasibility study to assess and create an inventory of land and buildings in Chelan County, zoned for various types of industrial and commercial development. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources.

Clallam County – $50,000 grant to the City of Sequim for the Bell Creek Economic Opportunity Area Plan. This is a “subarea plan” to include site analysis, market analysis, and direction for future development within the Bell Creek Economic Opportunity Area (EOA). CERB funds are matched by $17,000 in local resources.

Cowlitz County – $50,000 grant to the Port of Woodland for a feasibility study and market analysis to determine the practicality of constructing dark fiber infrastructure for two routes independently, the return on investment in infrastructure, and the market needs based on the rural makeup of the routes. CERB funds are matched by $25,000 in local resources.

Grant County – $50,000 grant to the City of Soap Lake for the Mineral Water System Plan. This is a feasibility study to assess the capital facilities in the water system, prepare cost estimates for proposed upgrades, develop a debt and revenue impact analysis and provide an assessment of environmental impacts and permitting. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources.

Lewis County – $665,000 loan and a $100,000 grant to the Port of Chehalis for the Pinnacle Construction Project. This prospective development consists of site preparation to include construction of earthwork, roads, underground utilities (water, sanitary sewer, electricity, telecommunications) and storm water management, which will result in a nine-acre building pad. The port estimates that 234 jobs will be created and $30 million will be invested as a result of this project. CERB funds are matched by $1.4 million in local resources.

Lincoln County – $50,000 grant to the county for a feasibility study for a highest and best use analysis of the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources.

Snohomish County – $1.85 million loan to the Port of Everett for the Riverside Business Park Improvements construction project. This committed private partner project consists of a connecting road, upgraded fire flow and re-route and installation of power, water, sewer and storm water utilities. Partners KW Projects/FedEx, will invest $10 million, resulting in 50 jobs retained and 49 new jobs created. CERB funds are matched by $1,096,000 in local resources.

Walla Walla County – $50,000 grant to the City of College Place for the Central College Place Planning Study. This is a feasibility study for a site appropriateness survey, a location analysis, a marketing strategy and a preliminary infrastructure analysis to determine if the 10-acre site is appropriate for light industrial use. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources.

Yakima County – $2 million loan to the City of Sunnyside for the Sunnyside Community Hospital construction project. This committed private partner project consists of construction of domestic water, fire protection, sanitary sewer and transportation improvements to the new hospital site. Partner Sunnyside Community Hospital Association will invest $120 million, retaining 523 jobs and creating 32 new jobs as a result of this project. CERB funds are matched by $1 million in local resources.

Yakima County – $41,250 grant to the Port of Sunnyside for a feasibility study that will include an infrastructure analysis, conceptual site plan, economic feasibility study, marketing study and wage analysis for the Miles Smith Property. CERB funds are matched by $13,750 in local resources.

“These projects represent the range of projects that CERB funds — projects that lead to job growth across the state through infrastructure development and planning,” said CERB Chair David Rhoden. “The board is pleased to collaborate with each of these communities as they work to create permanent private-sector jobs.”

“Washington’s economy was the fastest growing in the nation last year, yet we know that many parts of our state are not full participants in that prosperity,” said Brian Bonlender, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “Attractive financing tools provided by CERB are essential to strengthening rural communities and a good investment in our shared economic future.”

The release of CERB funds to these projects is contingent upon each applicant completing specific pre-contract requirements, such as finalizing other funding sources and obtaining necessary permits.
Since 1982, CERB has committed nearly $163 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 35,000 jobs, and private capital investments of a $5.6 billion ($34 to $1) return on CERB investment.

As Washington’s strategic economic development resource, CERB is focused on creating private-sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements. These improvements encourage new business development and expansion. In addition to funding construction projects, CERB provides limited funding for studies that evaluate high-priority economic development projects. Learn more about CERB at www.commerce.wa.gov/cerb.

Contact:

Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

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$7 million in state Clean Energy Fund grants advance microgrid projects at Avista, SnoPUD

Innovative utilities investing in highly flexible, resilient, efficient electricity grid for the future

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Department of Commerce has finalized grants totaling $7 million with two Washington state utilities to further their innovative work on electricity “microgrid” projects. Spokane-based private utility Avista, and the Snohomish County Public Utility District (SnoPUD), each were awarded $3.5 million from the Washington Clean Energy Fund.

Their projects, and several others making their way through the grant contract process, represent the next important phase in modernizing our nation’s electric system to meet demand for more efficient, resilient and flexible power management and delivery. Industry experts, engineers and investors are watching closely Washington’s Clean Energy Fund research and development projects. These real-world implementations of some of the first significant new concepts and technologies in a generation will illuminate potential uses, service models and economic benefits for people and communities all over the world.

“Washington is a state of leaders who share a vision of sustainable growth and prosperity inherent in the low-carbon economy,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “I applaud our utilities and their partners for investing in these innovative projects that will secure our energy future.”

Creating a “shared energy economy”

Avista (NYSE: AVA)  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 and used for multiple purposes, including system efficiency and grid resiliency. By doing this, benefits to both the consumer and utility can be demonstrated.

One aspect of the Avista project includes exploring energy sharing among buildings. For example, rooftop solar panels and battery storage units would be installed on two buildings. These buildings could be connected to a building energy management system that could automatically sense which building needs power and which building has sufficient power to share its solar or stored battery power. Since Avista can also tap into this system, the addition of shared assets allows the utility to better use the existing resources. Ultimately, the consumer and utility both benefit in this Shared Energy Economy model.

“Creating a ‘Shared Energy Economy’ model is the latest example of Avista’s 128-year history of innovation. In a ‘sharing economy’ resources are shared, allowing customers to access goods without ownership. For example, if you rent a Zipcar, you can pay to use a car when you need it, instead of owning a personal car. We are excited to explore this concept as it relates to energy,” said Heather Rosentrater, Avista vice president of energy delivery. “We know that the energy landscape will continue to change, and as a utility, we need to ensure our system will be flexible enough to meet the changing expectations and future needs of consumers.”

Testing small-scale renewables and disaster response

SnoPUD will build a Microgrid and Clean Energy Technology Center in Arlington. The facility, currently in the design phase, will demonstrate how evolving energy technologies – including energy storage, a microgrid system, small-scale renewable energy and an electric vehicle-to-grid system – can work together to improve grid resiliency, disaster recovery and renewable energy integration. It also will include a technology center to educate industry and the community about these technologies.

“Beyond the considerable value this facility provides for research of clean energy technologies, we will also test its viability to serve as a critical backup system for PUD operations in the event of a major disaster,” said SnoPUD CEO and General Manager Craig Collar. “We commend the state for supporting innovation in the energy sector and positioning our region as a leader.”

The utility has already installed the largest flow battery system in North America, using batteries and energy storage solutions developed by Washington researchers and companies with support from prior Clean Energy Fund programs.

“Our state’s investments in clean energy are helping strengthen communities all across the state,” Commerce Director Brian Bonlender said. ”As our strengths in information technology and cloud computing converge in new energy systems and operations, technologies developed and deployed in Washington are positioned to sell into global markets, creating new jobs and business opportunities here.”

Since 2013, the Washington State Clean Energy fund has invested over $72 million and leveraged another $128.7 million in matching funds from industry partners. Washington state’s numerous clean technology researchers, companies, investors and public and private utilities are at the forefront of energy innovation in the United States. Learn more at www.commerce.wa.gov/energy.

Contact:

Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

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Commerce grants $8.4 million to Washington State tribes for crime victim services

Sixteen Washington State tribes awarded Federal Victims of Crime Act funds from the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy

 OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce awarded $8,450,105 to 16 tribes to serve victims of crime. Funding for the grants comes from the U.S. Department of Justice, which administers the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund. The Office of Crime Victims Advocacy in the Department of Commerce administers VOCA funds in Washington State. VOCA is a major funding source for victim services throughout Washington.

Commerce set aside these funds to expand and enhance access to crime victim services in tribal communities, which are disproportionately affected by crime. A study funded by the National Institute of Justice found that American Indian and Alaska Native women and men suffer violence at an alarmingly high rate. More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women and men (84.3 percent and 81.6 percent, respectively) have experienced violence in their lifetime.

The programs supported by this funding focus on effective, accessible and culturally relevant victim services, such as traditional art therapy. These grants will enhance current services, improve coordination of child and youth programs, and add parenting support services. Services also will expand for elder and vulnerable adult victims of crime.

“This funding addresses critical needs in tribal communities and reflects significant progress in our combined efforts to improve coordination between tribes and state government,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “We were pleased that so many tribes applied for this funding.”

Sixteen tribes will receive funding through this effort:

  • Chehalis Confederated Tribes – $231,245
  • Cowlitz Indian Tribe – $1,544,759
  • Hoh Indian Tribe of the Hoh Indian Reservation – $609,112
  • Kalispel Tribe of Indians – $255,374
  • Lummi Nation – $554,695
  • Nisqually Indian Tribe $416,794
  • Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe – $535,168
  • Puyallup Tribe – $1,092,315
  • Quileute Tribe – $628,674
  • Quinault Indian Nation – $161,682
  • Samish Indian Nation – $832,464
  • Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe – $317,483
  • Squaxin Island Tribe – $272,125
  • The Suquamish Tribe – $171,903
  • Tulalip Tribes of Washington – $278,458
  • Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation – $547,854

For information about grants and funding available through the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, please visit ocva.wa.gov.

Contacts:

Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

Richard Torrance, Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, 360-725-2905

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State Community Economic Revitalization Board invests $850,000 in public infrastructure

The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) approved $850,000 in loans and grants for public infrastructure development and economic feasibility studies targeting business growth and job creation in the cities of Othello and Airway Heights, for the Makah Tribe, and at the Port of Sunnyside.

  • Adams County – $50,000 grant to the City of Othello for a feasibility study to implement the first phase of the city’s water supply plan, which includes constructing a new well, pump station and reservoir. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources.
  • Clallam County – $50,000 grant to the Makah Tribe for the Cape Flattery Fishermen’s Co-op Expansion project. A feasibility study will develop a strategy to upgrade the processing plant potential to increase value-added production, new sales and job creation. CERB funds were matched by $16,667 in local resources.
  • Spokane County – $50,000 grant to the city of Airway Heights for a feasibility study to develop a master plan for the Airway Heights Industrial Center. The project will produce a “highest and best use” analysis, an economic feasibility assessment, identification of priority development sites, a “planned action ordinance” to facilitate development of those sites and a targeted infrastructure funding and development strategy for the area. CERB funds were matched by $16,667 in local resources.
  • Yakima County – $400,000 loan and a $300,000 grant to the Port of Sunnyside for the Varietal Beer Company construction project. This committed private partner project consists of modifying an existing 5,500-square-foot cement block building for use as a brewery, taproom and bottling facility.  Varietal Beer Company will invest $405,000 in a 10-barrel brewing system, creating 23 permanent jobs. CERB funds were matched by $300,000 in local resources.

“Our role is to be responsive to local needs by making timely and smart investment decisions. CERB has a proven track record for being a good steward of public money and an advocate for local communities,” said CERB Chair David Rhoden.

“CERB is helping strengthen rural communities by investing in public facilities that enable new and existing businesses to provide good jobs,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce.

The release of CERB funds to these projects is contingent upon each applicant completing specific pre-contract requirements, such as finalizing other funding sources and obtaining necessary permits.

Since 1982, CERB has committed nearly $163 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 35,000 jobs, and private capital investments of a $5.6 billion ($34 to $1) return on CERB investment.

As Washington’s strategic economic development resource, CERB is focused on creating private sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements. These improvements encourage new business development and expansion. In addition to funding construction projects, CERB provides limited funding for studies that evaluate high-priority economic development projects.

Local Contacts:

City of Othello: Wade Farris, City Administrator, 509-488-5686
Makah Tribe: Crystal Hottowe, Grant Writer, 360-645-3292
City of Airway Heights: Derrick Braaten, Development Services Director, 509-244-2552
Port of Sunnyside: Jay Hester, Executive Director, 509-839-7678

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Update on Clean Energy Fund RD&D Match Grants

Commerce’s State Energy Office to begin accepting grant applications for those wishing to fund development, demonstration or deployment of clean energy technologies

The Department of Commerce will be accepting pre-applications for grants under the Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) Match Program beginning Jan. 13, 2017. These grants match federal and other non-state funds for the purpose of researching, developing and demonstrating eligible clean energy technologies.

Phase 1 pre-applications are due before midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Approved projects will qualify to proceed to Phase 2 and will need to complete a more comprehensive application. Phase 2 applications will be due March 31, 2017.

More information will be available on our website at http://commerce.wa.gov, including FAQs after Jan. 3, 2017. A bidder’s conference will be held via webinar on Jan.11, 2017.

The Washington State Clean Energy Fund enables a mix of projects administered by Commerce’s State Energy Office. Funding will support development, demonstration and deployment of clean energy technologies that save energy and reduce energy costs, reduce harmful air emissions, or otherwise increase energy independence for the state.

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Subscribe to our Energy or Clean Tech mailing lists to receive Clean Energy Fund updates.

For more information, Jill Nordstrom, data and program section manager, at 360-725-3117 or jill.nordstrom@commerce.wa.gov.

For media inquiries, contact Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, (206) 256-6106, or penny.thomas@commerce.wa.gov

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NEWS RELEASE: Washington State’s Composite Recycling Technology Center wins $500K “Innovation Accelerator” grant, debuts first retail product at Museum of Flight

U.S. Commerce Asst. Secretary Jay Williams announces funding to promote investment in manufacturing communities, demonstrates world’s first product from uncured carbon fiber composite scrap

SEATTLE, Wash. – Many times stronger than steel and less than half the weight of aluminum, carbon fiber composite scrap – once considered worthless – took center stage today in a press conference with a twist, hosted by the Washington State Department of Commerce at the Museum of Flight.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams announced a $500,000 i6 Challenge grant to the Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) of Port Angeles, Clallam County. Funding is part of the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program, an initiative to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation.

Following brief remarks, a portable net was unfurled and Williams and CRTC CEO Robert Larsen each grabbed pickleball paddles made from carbon fiber composite scrap and faced off with a whiffle ball.

The friendly game heralded another important milestone for the CRTC: the quiet, lightweight pickleball paddles manufactured there are the world’s first retail product produced from uncured carbon fiber (also known as “pre-preg”) composite scrap. (Pickleball, invented in 1965 by former state Congressman Joel Pritchard on Bainbridge Island, is one of the fastest growing sports in North America with over three million players globally.)

“The Port Angeles Composite Recycling Technology Center is revolutionizing advanced manufacturing while creating jobs locally,” said Assistant Secretary Williams. “As America’s Innovation Agency, the U.S. Department of Commerce plays a key role in supporting the entrepreneurs and job creators of tomorrow. Congratulations to CRTC on receiving the RIS award and for their contributions in workforce training programs, building infrastructure and promoting innovation here in Washington State.”

“Making Pickleball paddles out of carbon fiber composite isn’t new – but making them out of scrap carbon fiber composite is groundbreaking. That’s because – until now – no one has been able to prove there is value in scrap aerospace carbon fiber composite. It has been considered worthless, and that’s why 29 million pounds of it ends up in our country’s landfills every year. But today, CRTC is proving to the world that recycling it doesn’t just make good environmental sense, it makes good business sense,” said Robert Larsen, CEO of the Composite Recycling Technology Center.

“Bold innovation is found in every corner of Washington state, not just our high-tech research and development centers around Seattle,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “CRTC’s work is proving that it’s possible to both grow the economy and protect the environment. The Clean Energy Fund is proud to be among the numerous public and private partners committed to bringing world-leading clean tech manufacturing jobs to the peninsula. Together we are strengthening this community for the future.”

The Washington State Clean Energy Fund has invested $2.7 million in the CRTC’s work to develop and manufacture clean technology products and reduce waste from composite manufacturing. Even though today’s advanced carbon fiber composite is used for many high performance items, from automobiles, airplanes and boat hulls to wind turbine blades, safety clothing and fishing rods, an estimated 29 million pounds of scrap ends up in U.S. landfills each year because the material has been considered too difficult to recycle and there is no proven market for it.

CRTC is changing that.

A Clean Energy Fund matching grant announced in September helped to purchase advanced waterjet equipment made in Kent, WA from Flow Corporation. CRTC will use it when serial manufacturing and shipping of their revolutionary SWIFT Aero Paddles begins in January.
The Port of Port Angeles has been instrumental in launching the CRTC, investing $3.3 million to match the state’s grants and enabling the CRTC to get on its feet. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer have consistently supported the CRTC and its mission. The center has accumulated over $5 million in local, state, federal and private funding since its formation in 2015.

“This first-ever recycled carbon fiber composite product is a major milestone for the Port of Port Angeles and the Carbon Recycling Technology Center. Today’s announcement of the $500,000 Innovation Accelerator grant will push CRTC to new heights and demonstrates their innovation is a strong, economic driver that creates new, good-paying jobs,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell.

“This is all about jobs and economic opportunity for our region, and that’s why I lent my support to this grant application. Securing these funds is great news for the future of advanced manufacturing in Port Angeles,” said Representative Derek Kilmer. “Our composite recycling center, one of the first in the nation, is already showing that the Peninsula can be a hub for groundbreaking innovation. Now, this national investment will give entrepreneurs the tools they need to take yesterday’s recycled parts and turn them into advanced products. It will also encourage the growth of quality jobs in our region by giving local people the skills they need to build a career working with composites.”

Public and private partners in the successful Innovation Accelerator proposal include Peninsula College, Profile Composites, Altair Engineering, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Impact Washington, and the Composites Washington Consortium.

In addition, Toray Composites America is providing the scrap material. The company is key to an Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) research and development project with Janicki industries and Globe Manufacturing, to produce lightweight automotive structural parts.
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Contact: Penny Thomas, Commerce Press Office, (206) 256-6106

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News Release: Commerce grants $485,000 for environmental reviews of eastern Washington manufacturing projects

Pend Oreille County, Spokane County, Spokane Valley and Walla Walla awarded funds for environmental analysis to support economic development at proposed manufacturing sites.

Olympia, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced $485,000 in advanced planning grants to aid four proposed manufacturing projects in eastern Washington. The grants will help Pend Oreille County, Spokane County, the city of Spokane Valley and Walla Walla County move forward with environmental analysis and permitting activities associated with development in four key economic sectors: clean technology, aerospace, forest products or agriculture and food manufacturing, and heavy manufacturing.

  • Pend Oreille County $250,000 grant matched by $100,000 in county funds for activities including public outreach, environmental permit coordination, wetlands and transportation studies, cultural resource and timber lands assessments, engineering, planning, environmental baseline studies and project management. The proposed development is a $300-million facility for producing silicon from sand on the Ponderay Newsprint Company mill site. At completion -full operation – about 170 permanent full-time jobs are forecast.
  • City of Spokane Valley$114,200 grant matched by a $55,000 city investment for activities to streamline environmental permitting in the city’s northeast industrial area. A 40-acre site within an 840-acre area is proposed for a heavy manufacturing facility that includes approximately 110,000 square feet of production space, 115,000 square feet of storage, a new rail spur, parking to accommodate business operations and about 150 employees.
  • Walla Walla County $100,000 grant matched by $20,000 county investment to prepare a wastewater feasibility study for the Wallula Gap Business Park at the port of Walla Walla. Adjacent to Highway 12 and a dual access rail spur, the site already has completed archeological, geotechnical and biological reports. The study will address costs of engineering, needed right-of-way acquisition, infrastructure layout, wastewater disposal alternatives, and prioritization of improvements and planning.
  • Spokane County$20,800 grant matched by $48,200 in local funds to complete Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval process to release 40 acres of non-aeronautical airport land near Spokane international Airport for a $90.5 million capital investment project. The land will be sold to an aerospace manufacturing and distribution company, with an estimated impact to the community of 300 jobs.
  • “Washington state is blessed with a diverse economy and resources to attract and sustain businesses and good jobs. However, opportunities for growth look very different from the coast to urban Puget Sound to the Palouse and beyond,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “These strategic investments strengthen communities in eastern Washington. Strong public-private collaboration is streamlining regulatory processes and providing businesses and local governments with the tools they need to make decisions and move forward.”

    “These funds are critical to support our commitment to timely and meaningful public involvement in this opportunity to secure important new investment and jobs for our community,” said Commissioner Mike Manus, chair of the Pend Oreille County Board of Commissioners. “In particular, we look forward to reaching out to the Kalispel Tribe to develop an action plan that will ensure all of our questions about potential impacts on the environment are answered.”

    A competitive selection process yielded the four grant recipients from a pool of nine applications asking for a total of almost $1 million. The 2016 Legislature gave Commerce’s Growth Management Services program authority to award up to $500,000 to assist cities and counties east of the Cascade Mountains to advance environmental analysis and permitting activities in and around current and large future manufacturing sites and other key economic growth centers.

    Criteria used in evaluating applications included size, readiness to proceed, local funds leverage, jobs retained or created, projects of statewide significance, use of vacant or underutilized industrial sites, support from local economic development organizations and consistency with regional economic development strategies.

    Proposals that did not win funding are in the cities of Spokane, Othello, Grandview and Union Gap.
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    Contact: Penny Thomas, Commerce Press Office, (206) 256-6106

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    News Release: State Community Economic Revitalization Board invests over $1.9 million in four rural communities

    Grants and low-interest loans will support economic development in Clark, Grant, Mason and Yakima counties

    OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) approved $1,988,750 in grants for public infrastructure development and economic feasibilities studies targeting business growth and job creation in Clark County, the cities of George and Yakima, and the port of Shelton.

    · Clark County – $50,000 grant for a feasibility study to complete preliminary scoping on the I-5/NE 179th Street project. The plan includes a practical design concept in consultation with Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), survey, traffic modeling and analysis, design and engineering, construction phasing and permitting. CERB funds are matched by $25,000 in local resources.

    · Grant County – $1.2 million loan and a $300,000 grant to the city of George for Industrial Park No. 5 water system improvements for Ancient Lake Wine Company. This committed private partner project consists of design and construction of approximately 6,000 feet of 16-inch water transmission main, valves, fittings, appurtenances, and surface restoration. Ancient Lake Wine Company, LLC will invest $46 million in a 9,000-ton wine grape processing facility, creating or retaining 55 permanent jobs as a result of this project. CERB funds were matched by $403,000 in local public resources.

    · Mason County – $160,000 loan and a $160,000 grant to the Port of Shelton for expansion of Johns Prairie Industrial Park for Fraser MetalWorks. This committed private partner project consists of the conversion of an existing 11,600-square-foot structure into a steel fabrication assembly building that includes space for manufacturing and testing of industrial electrical control panels. Fraser MetalWorks will invest $1,269,500 in a 3,000-square-foot expansion, steel fabrication machinery and equipment, and create or retain 69 permanent jobs as a result of this project. The CERB grant is matched by $400,000 in local resources.

    · Yakima County – $50,000 grant to the City of Yakima for a feasibility study to refine the concept of a public market and mixed-use incubator/commercial kitchen. The study will address final location selection, layout, conceptual drawings and estimated construction budget. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources.

    “CERB has a 35-year history of investing in Washington’s economic future by encouraging new development and expansion plus retaining existing jobs in the state. The projects in George and Shelton are good examples of the application of CERB as an economic development tool to support business growth in the state,” said CERB Chair David Rhoden.

    “CERB is an important tool to help in our efforts to strengthen Washington communities by supporting industrial growth. These planning projects are examples of the depth and breadth of state-local collaboration required to prepare attractive sites for future business development and new job creation,” said Brian Bonlender, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce.

    The release of CERB funds to these projects is contingent upon each applicant completing specific pre-contract requirements, such as finalizing other funding sources and obtaining necessary permits.

    Since 1982, CERB has committed nearly $163 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 35,000 jobs, and private capital investments of a $5.6 billion ($34 to $1) return on CERB investment.

    As Washington’s strategic economic development resource, CERB is focused on creating private sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements. These improvements encourage new business development and expansion. In addition to funding construction projects, CERB provides limited funding for studies that evaluate high-priority economic development projects. Learn more about CERB.
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    Contact: Penny Thomas, Commerce Press Office, (206) 256-6106

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    NEWS RELEASE: Solar Plus Regional Initiative Wins $2 Million Grant from US Department of Energy

    powered-by-sunshot-twitter1-3Three-year joint effort to develop strategies for increasing solar energy, modernizing energy infrastructure in Washington and Oregon will launch this year.

    OLYMPIA, Wash. — Solar Plus, a joint effort of more than a dozen stakeholder groups in Washington and Oregon has been awarded a $2,050,000 SunShot grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to further deployment of solar energy in the Pacific Northwest. It is the largest of the 17 awards totaling $21 million announced today.

    Washington State is also one of 11 states in the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB), which received the second largest grant award of $2,020,000. The WIEB is based in Denver, CO.

    The Solar Plus initiative will convene leaders from utilities, regulators, the Washington State Energy Office at the Department of Commerce, the Oregon Department of Energy, the solar industry and community-based organizations to develop a plan to tap into our region’s unique opportunities to develop solar and provide greater access.

    The $2,050,000 grant is matched with additional cost-share commitments from partners. Over three years launching later this year, Solar Plus will look beyond energy generation to additional solar value streams, through three main focus areas:
    · Deploying more community shared solar projects in the region
    · Creating opportunities for increased resilience and access to solar for low-income communities
    · Maximizing the social and electricity grid value of solar development

    “Ensuring a clean energy future is vital to strengthening communities, and these awards recognize our leadership in renewable energy development,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “We are excited to guide this effort convened by Northwest SEED and supported by a diverse group of public and private partners representing the needs and interests of our entire region.”

    “Solar Plus will equitably grow the solar market in the Northwest and move us towards the energy grid of the future. Our community-driven approach seeks to triple the amount of solar, decrease costs, and double the solar jobs in the region by 2020,” said Jennifer Grove, Executive Director, Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED).

    Solar Plus will advance the broad-based goals set forth in the 2016 Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future: diversify our energy generation, expand clean energy sources and modernize our energy infrastructure.
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    Contact: Penny Thomas, Commerce Press Office, (206) 256-6106

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