Grid Modernization under the Clean Energy Fund (CEF)​

Since 2013, state investments have encouraged public-private partnerships on a diverse range of projects, leading the way in electrical grid modernization. From different battery chemistry to energy storage to microgrids and solar, Clean Energy Fund project data and business case analyses are transforming how utilities and communities view energy systems and resiliency.

The Grid Modernization program provides funding for public and private electric utilities serving Washington consumers and must advance clean, renewable energy technologies and transmission and distribution control systems; support integration of renewable energy sources, deployment of distributed energy resources, and sustainable microgrids; or increase utility customer choice in energy sources, efficiency, equipment and utility services.

Commerce is currently developing draft program guidelines for a funding solicitation to take place in the first half of 2021. Following feedback received from program stakeholders during the Energy and Climate Policy Advisory Committee (ECPAC) process, and aligning with guidance from the Clean Energy Transformation Act and State Energy Strategy, this round of funding is being designed to support earlier-stage Pre-Design and Design activities for future capital projects.

The solicitation is expected to include both Clean Energy Fund 3 (CEF3) and Clean Energy Transition 4 (CET4) funding, with approximately $4.6 million available. In accordance with the new proviso language included under CET4, Commerce anticipates that this solicitation will prioritize projects that benefit Tribal communities and vulnerable populations and/or include a partnership with federally recognized Tribal governments or non-profit organizations serving vulnerable populations.

Commerce expects to solicit input on draft program guidelines in January 2021 and open applications in March 2021. Public input meetings are tentatively scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, and 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, with written comments accepted from any who are not able to attend the meetings. Call-in details and draft program documents will be posted as soon as they are available.

Learn More About Ongoing Projects

Funded in part by $3 million grant from the Washington State Clean Energy Fund, Energy Northwest has powered up its Horn Rapids Solar, Storage & Training Project in Richland. This project provides Washington state its first opportunity to integrate a utility-scale solar and storage facility. The facility combines solar generation with battery storage and technician training.

The 20-acre project provides 4 megawatts of direct-current electricity — enough energy to power 600 homes. In addition, the 1-megawatt battery energy storage system can provide energy to 150 homes for four hours.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will monitor and analyze data from the project to evaluate the financial benefits of the battery. This will help develop improved battery designs and advanced tools for forecasting load, price, and solar in-feed.

Watch a time-lapse video of Horn Rapids Solar, Storage & Training Project construction below.

Past Funding

CLEAN ENERGY FUND 1 (CEF1) – $15 million in 2013-14 budget. $14.3 million in grants awarded to three electric utilities.
These projects focus on different batteries and energy storage systems. Projects selected to compare a wide range of use cases at locations within utility distribution systems. Multiple battery and software control technology providers provided components to deploy both Lithium-Ion and Vanadium Redox Flow systems. All systems are operational and undergoing evaluation by the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL)

CLEAN ENERGY FUND 2 (CEF2) $13 million in 2015-16 budget. $12.5 million in grants awarded to five electric utilities.
Most of these projects include a focus on microgrids combining solar with storage, load controls, and so on, to provide resiliency benefits in addition to many of use cases for battery energy storage that were demonstrated in CEF1. Projects are expected to have deployments in 2019 and 2020.

Clean Energy Fund 3 (CEF3) – $ 11 million in 2017-19 budget. 
Commerce initiated a grant solicitation in 2018, resulting in the selection of several projects. Out of this process, three performance-based grant contracts have been executed, one with Avista to deploy advanced thermal and electric storage and load control technology in Spokane Eco-District, one with Puget Sound Energy for a solar + storage microgrid near Tenino High School, and one with Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO), for a hybrid technology energy storage project in their service territory in the San Juans.

CEF Projects




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