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 was allocated money 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.

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The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) recently featured the project of one of our CEF2 Grid Modernization Grantees in a discussion about how microgrids can strengthen community resilience in the face of natural disasters.


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 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, two 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, and the other with Puget Sound Energy for a solar + storage microgrid near Tenino High School. An additional award has been made to Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO), for a hybrid flow and lithium energy storage project in their service territory in the San Juans.

Clean Energy Fund 4 (CEF4) – $ 6.1 million in 2019-2021 budget.

Of this, $4.4 million has been allocated to provide shore power electrification at Terminal Five in the Seattle Harbor.

Commerce will revisit the disposition of remaining CEF3 and CEF4 funds later this year, and anticipates soliciting and incorporating stakeholder input where appropriate.

CEF Projects




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