Grid Modernization Program

Clean Energy Fund (CEF)

Applications are now closed for the new round of grant funding

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 thermal 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 resilience.

This program provides funding for Washington electric utilities for Grid Modernization projects that 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.

2021 Awards Announced

Commerce has announced $3.9 million in grants for early-stage project development of 18 grid modernization projects led by utilities across the state. As Washington’s utilities advance towards the state’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2045, the projects will advance a variety of renewable energy technologies and electricity system innovations. The projects will advance a variety of clean, renewable energy technologies and electricity transmission and distribution control system innovations, including grid-interactive buildings, second-use transit vehicle batteries, run-of-river hydropower and more.

Awarded Projects

  • Avista – $240,000 to design and engineer a solar and energy storage microgrid project in partnership with the Spokane Tribe of Indians. This microgrid project will provide energy resilience during wildfires, energy independence for critical facilities, and energy billing benefits for customers.
  • Energy Northwest – $333,575 to carry out a project with public utilities for an automated system that seamlessly controls different electric grid resources, such as solar panels, batteries, and on-demand devices serving multiple locations and customer needs.
  • Energy Northwest – $149,983 to investigate, co-create and complete preliminary design for grid-interactive efficient buildings for Aberdeen and Hoquiam school districts and The Evergreen State College. Grid-interactive efficient buildings are also called “smart buildings” because they automatically respond to times of peak demand on the power grid to reduce energy use to keep costs down while maintaining comfort of people inside.
  • Kittitas County PUD – $48,500 for analysis and preliminary design for a .5 MW/20MWh battery energy storage system paired with either a 150 kw solar array or a 100 kw in-stream hydropower generator. This project would provide uninterrupted backup power to a remote rural community that is vulnerable to outages.
  • Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO) – $150,000 for analysis and preliminary design for a solar plus storage microgrid with the capacity to support OPALCO’s electrified medium-duty truck fleet, public and private light duty vehicle charging, electric bicycle charging, Washington State Ferries serving Friday Harbor and other marine craft.
  • Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO) – $150,000 for analysis and preliminary design for a potential tidal energy project located in the Rosario Strait. Tidal energy could increase resilience and energy independence for island communities, particularly during winter months when solar microgrids have lower production.
  • Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO) – $165,000 for detailed design and engineering to build a biomass combined heat and power facility with microgrid controls. The facility would be fueled by waste materials such as vegetation collected during maintenance work around power lines or forest health maintenance. The project would reduce winter peak demand charges and increase energy independence for the islands.
  • Puget Sound Energy – $150,000 for analysis and preliminary design to add a renewable hydrogen and/or renewable natural gas-powered generator to a planned solar plus storage microgrid at Tenino High School. This addition would help meet the community’s requirements to use the school as an emergency shelter, particularly during winter months.
  • Seattle City Light – $150,000 for feasibility analysis and preliminary design to create a fully carbon neutral ecodistrict at the Seattle Center that could serve as a community emergency center during natural disasters. This project will explore technologies including battery storage, expanded on-site solar, waste heat capture, regenerative power systems, and more. The project is in collaboration with Climate Pledge Arena and Seattle Monorail.
  • Seattle City Light – $150,000 for analysis and preliminary design for an ecodistrict in the area surrounding the Seattle Central College campus in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. This system would leverage shared heating and support a transition from natural gas heating to electrified heating and thermal storage.
  • Seattle City Light – $500,000 to conduct detailed design and engineering for a microgrid using second-use batteries from transit vehicles. The system will increase the resilience of electricity supply to an increasingly electrified public transit fleet as the city decreases diesel emissions in a community experiencing high levels of environmental health disparities.
  • Seattle City Light – $500,000 for detailed design of a 10-25 MVA shore-side battery energy storage system. The system will serve Washington State Ferries Colman Dock hybrid ferry charging and provide electricity grid support for the waterfront area.
  • Snohomish County PUD – $150,000 for analysis and preliminary design of a neighborhood-scale microgrid in South Everett. The microgrid would increase grid reliability and provide emergency backup power for the community, including low-income households experiencing high levels of environmental health disparities, such as impact from peak heat and cold periods. The project is in partnership with the City of Everett.
  • Snohomish County PUD – $150,000 for analysis and preliminary design of a renewable energy-based microgrid at the Tulalip Tribal Government Administrative Building. The project’s goal is to maintain government and emergency response facilities in the event of a long-term power outage.
  • Snohomish County PUD – $150,000 for analysis and preliminary design of a renewable energy-based microgrid at the Tulalip Tribes Gathering Hall. The project’s goal is to create a shelter for community members in the event of a long-term power outage.
  • Snohomish County PUD – $150,000 for analysis and preliminary design to integrate up to 50 MW of long-duration energy storage into an existing, early stage 21.6 MW solar project under development by Tulalip Tribes and its partners within Snohomish PUD’s service territory.
  • Tacoma Power – $99,354 for analysis and preliminary design for an innovative, community-centric microgrid design that would support Franklin Pierce School District’s transition to electric school buses. The microgrid would integrate solar, upcycled batteries and idle bus capacity.
  • Yakama Power – $500,000 to design, purchase equipment, and install an electricity grid controls system. The project supports grid modernization and integration of solar and other renewable resources and creates workforce training opportunities for members of the Yakama Nation.

* All funding is dependent upon negotiation of final grant contracts with Commerce.

CEF Project Highlight – OPALCO Decatur Island Microgrid

OPALCO’s Battery Storage Project was funded in part by a $1 million Grid Modernization grant from Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund (CEF). The microgrid OPALCO built on Decatur Island includes a battery storage project paired with a Community Solar Array. The battery storage project is a one-megawatt, 2.6 MWh large-scale battery that can operate independently from the grid and power approximately 500 homes for up to 4 hours. The goals of

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CEF Project Highlight – Horn Rapids Solar, Storage & Training Project in Richland

Funded in part by a $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

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Past Funding

CLEAN ENERGY FUND 1 (CEF1) – $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.

CLEAN ENERGY FUND 2 (CEF2) – $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 other technologies, to provide resilience benefits in addition to use cases for battery energy storage that were demonstrated in CEF1. Projects are underway, and most are expected to finish construction in the first half of 2021.

CLEAN ENERGY FUND 3 (CEF3) – $ 7.6 million in grants awarded to three electric utilities.
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

CEF 1

CEF 2

CEF 3

CEF 4

Need Help?

Questions on the funds?
Send an email with Grid in the subject line to:
CEF@commerce.wa.gov

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