Rural Clean Energy Innovation

Clean Energy Fund (CEF)

A herd of cows grazing near a solar power plant

The Rural Clean Energy Innovation Program marks a new opportunity for Commerce to support clean energy research, development, and implementation in Washington’s rural communities. Through Washington’s Clean Energy Fund (CEF), this program allocates $4.9 million to advance clean energy through a new grant program with set asides for bioenergy and tribal energy projects, and a workgroup.

Building on previous CEF dairy digester programs, the Rural Clean Energy Grant Program includes specific funding for dairy digester bioenergy grants, rural clean energy innovation grants and tribal grants. In December 2022, Commerce will begin accepting applications under this program. Approximately $4.6 million in funding will be available for Washington-based entities pursuing rural clean energy projects. The grant program details are summarized below.

  • Who: This grant opportunity will be open to:
    • Entities that own, operate and/or service anaerobic digesters located at dairies in Washington state;
    • Washington-based entities located in rural areas pursuing clean energy projects;
    • Tribes (Tribal governments, designated subdivisions, and agencies).
  • What: There will be one single solicitation with three separate tracks.
    • Track 1 Dairy Digester Bioenergy projects: Approximately $1,843,000 (at least 40% of the overall funds) is available for projects that enhance the viability of dairy digesters. This includes nutrient management systems that produce renewable natural gas and value-added biofertilizers, generate electricity and heat, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve soil health and air and water quality.
    • Track 2 Rural Clean Energy Innovation projects: Approximately $1,843,000 (Up to 40% of the overall funds) is available to support rural communities in advancing clean energy, including but not limited to, renewable energy projects, energy efficiency improvements, resilience and carbon sequestration.
    • Track 3 Tribal projects: Approximately $921,500 (Up to 20% of the overall funds) is available for tribal governments, designated subdivisions, and agencies.
    • Commerce reserves the right to adjust funding categories
  • When: Grant solicitation is tentatively slated to open in December 2022.

Working definition of Rural: Rural is defined as any areas other than: (1) A city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants; and (2) The urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town, as defined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census using the latest decennial census of the United States, as defined by the USDA Rural Development Rural Energy for America and Rural Energy Pilot program Eligibility (usda.gov). This definition may not apply to tribal applicants and Commerce will be accepting feedback on potential definitions for tribes at upcoming listening sessions.

Questions? Email CEF@commerce.wa.gov

Solicitation Resources

As more information on the Rural Clean Energy Innovation Grant Program application process becomes available, it will be posted here. If you are interested in receiving updates directly to your inbox, please sign up for email updates. Any other questions should be directed to CEF@commerce.wa.gov.

Information and Listening Sessions

Please share your feedback on the program summary (PDF) by submitting comments by email to cef@commerce.wa.gov. Written responses must be submitted by 5 p.m., November 17, 2022.

Commerce held two information and listening sessions. Recordings and presentation slides can be found below.

In May 2020 Commerce announced $970,000 in grants from Clean Energy Fund 4 (2019-21 biennial Capital Budget) through a competitive application process.

  • Awards included at least one project east of the Cascades and one project west of the Cascades.
  • Four projects were funded to improve energy efficiency in operations and the marketing of biogas, nutrients, fiber and other co-products of the digesters.
  • All of the grants had to be matched at least dollar-for-dollar with other sources of non-state funding.

Awardees

  • DeRuyter Dairies (Outlook, Yakima County): $164,145 to convert the DeRuyter Dairies from flush to flush flume to greatly reduce the volume of water mixed with manure and improve digester capacity, efficiency, and biogas production, as well as recovery of nutrients and fiber.
  • Edaleen Cow Power (Lynden, Whatcom County): $300,000 to acquire new equipment (hydrogen sulfide scrubber) and infrastructure (new manure pipeline) at Edaleen Cow Power (ECP) to complete a new long-term offtake agreement and associated business plan. This plan can provide ECP and potentially other existing and new projects with higher-value power purchase agreements when the power for used for electric vehicles.
  • FPE Renewables (Mt. Vernon, Skagit County): $300,000 to purchase and install a 10-20 wet ton/hour food residuals de-packaging system at a permitted material recovery and recycling facility for production and delivery of a new slurry feedstock stream for the FPE Renewables on-farm anaerobic digester, as well as other partnering digesters in Western Washington.
  • Organix, Inc. (Outlook, Yakima County): $205,855 for a comprehensive pilot study to investigate the potential benefits of processing anaerobic digester effluent using the BioFiltro BIDA System. This system is anticipated to improve air quality by mitigating noxious odors and reducing greenhouse gases and clean water for reuse in the dairy flush system.

Sub section (a) 14 of 1064 of the Substitute House Bill 1080 (2021-23 biennial Capital Budget) (PDF) required Commerce to develop a strategic plan and recommendations for increasing access to clean energy investments in rural communities. To fulfill this requirement, Commerce convened a Rural Clean Energy Working Group that identified programs, investments and policy changes that align with the 2021 State Energy Strategy. The work group met four times between October 2021 and January 2022. The resulting recommendations and strategic plan were integrated into a legislative report (PDF) submitted to the Legislature by Commerce. Commerce may draw on recommendations and findings to design the rural clean energy grant program.

Additional Resources

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