Grid Modernization Program

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.

Upcoming Opportunities

Clean Energy Fund 5 (CEF5) – Grid Modernization Now Accepting Applications

Update: Phase One Applications now Due at 12:00PM Pacific Time on Thursday May 4, 2023. Based on feedback from potential applicants, the deadline for Phase One Applications has been extended to 12:00PM Pacific Time on Thursday May 4, 2023. A new schedule of procurement activities can be found in the RFA.

Commerce has announced a Request for Applications (RFA) with up to $10.67 Million in funding available for Grid Modernization projects.

This RFA will prioritize benefits to communities with high environmental or energy burden, Tribes, smaller utilities and partnerships. To encourage applications from organizations that have not received a Grid Modernization grant in the past, a funding carve out is set aside to support early stage planning projects for eligible applicants.

Funding is also available for implementation of projects that have completed planning and are ready for construction.

Pre-application Conference

Commerce hosted a pre-application conference on March 22, 2023. This conference shared details about the program and the application process as well as to answer questions. Participation is not a prerequisite for submitting an application.

Questions & Answers

Beginning March 20, 2023 when the RFA opens, questions about the application may be submitted to the Solicitation Coordinator through email until 5:00pm on April 27, 2023. Answers will be posted periodically, but no later than Monday May 1, 2023 and will be posted under the Program Documents.


This RFA is open on March 20, 2023.

  • Phase One application will be accepted until noon on Thursday May 4, 2023
  • Phase Two will open on June 8, 2023
  • Phase Two applications will be due by noon on July 24, 2023

Send questions to Phone calls will not be accepted.

Program Documents

Eligible Applicants

The Grid Modernization program has supported electrical utilities across the state in the challenges of integrating renewable energy technologies and building a more sustainable and resilient grid. Now in its fifth iteration, this program has expanded eligibility to include:

  • Federally recognized Tribal governments
  • Community organizations
  • Local governments
  • Public and private electrical utilities

Past Funding

$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.

CEF1 Projects

$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.

CEF2 Projects

$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.

CEF3 Projects

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.


Questions on the funds?
Send an email with Grid in the subject line to


To sign up for updates from the State Energy Office or access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.