Washington State Awards $8.1 Million in Grants for Microgrids and Other Renewable Energy Projects

March 6, 2024
Fourteen grants for microgrids, battery storage systems and more were awarded by the Washington State Department of Commerce through its Clean Energy Fund.

The Washington State Department of Commerce announced it had awarded a total of $8.1 million in grant funds to 14 renewable energy projects in the state last week.

Multiple microgrid projects were among the recipients.

The funds were available to tribes, retail electric utilities, local governments and community organizations and were awarded through the department’s Clean Energy Fund (CEF), which aims to expand the amount of renewable energy in Washington state’s electrical grid.

The grants will be used to plan and develop new projects and support the construction of those that have completed the design phase.

“These [grants], which are primarily to organizations that haven’t received funding in the past, will result in a cleaner, more resilient and more just energy system while at the same time create construction, operations and maintenance jobs,” said Mike Fong, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce.

The awards are conditional based on the execution of project agreements and performance-based contracts, according to a statement from the commerce department.

Microgrid projects awarded funds

The winning projects will improve energy resilience and replace aging infrastructure with new clean energy technologies, both of which will aid communities facing climate change impacts.

Half of the winners were microgrid projects:

  • The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community was awarded just over $1.75 million to integrate microgrids into a new residential community on the Swinomish Reservation. The project aims to reduce energy costs and create more affordable housing on the reservation.
  • The Tulalip Tribes will use a $2 million grant to install a microgrid at the community’s Gathering Hall.
  • Clallam County Public Utility District will receive $128,000 to design a microgrid at a substation that will include existing solar panels and electric vehicle chargers.
  • The city of Langley was awarded $250,000 and the Lewis County Public Utility District received nearly $150,000. Both will conduct feasibility studies and begin the initial design of solar plus storage microgrids.
  • PacifiCorp will use the nearly $73,000 it was awarded to investigate the possibilities of a microgrid that will support emergency response at the State Fair Park in Yakima.
  • $245,700 was awarded to the Puyallup School District for the design of a solar plus storage microgrid that will improve the resilience of a local elementary school.

Other projects funded by the CEF will develop zero-carbon district energy systems, deploy smart grid solutions that accelerate the integration of renewable energy, study long-duration energy storage and create resiliency hubs through the installation of battery energy storage systems.

“The project applicants for this round were exciting and support a variety of communities as they prepare for changing climate conditions,” said Energy Division Assistant Director Michael Furze. “Without funding through the CEF, these and other cutting-edge projects would not have occurred.”

Other grant funding available

The Washington State Department of Commerce is planning on investing heavily in clean energy technologies through a variety of grant programs. It is currently accepting applications for clean energy projects that benefit overburdened communities and vulnerable populations, as well as those for tribal communities.

Maryland is also supporting the sustainable, long-term clean energy projects of local governments, state agencies, nonprofits, educational institutions and communities. The Maryland Energy Agency is currently accepting applications for two of the agency’s clean energy programs.

About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. I have over 30 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the renewable energy, electric vehicle and utility sector, as well as those in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.

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