The Washington State Department of Commerce announces $13.5 million in funding for five Innovation Partnership Zones (IPZ) to foster economic growth. More than $8 million went to cleantech initiatives. “IPZs are engines of job creation at the local level,” said Bruce Kendall, president of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County. “This program is incredibly important as it helps bring people, facilities and funding together to drive game-changing innovations across the State of Washington.”
Walla Walla Valley IPZ – $3.67 million: Steven VanAusdle, Walla Walla Community College , 509.527.4274. The Walla Walla IPZ will use its funding to invest in human capital, addressing a shortage in energy technicians in the region who are responsible for maintaining the area’s 5,000 wind turbines. The state’s only wind energy training program is located at Walla Walla Community College. Additional monies will be put toward technology and infrastructure, particularly the purchase of alternative and clean energy sources for research and training purposes.
Tacoma: Urban Clean Water Technology Zone – $3.6 million: Martha Anderson, City of Tacoma, 253.591.5207. Three new labs will be created with the Tacoma grant. Existing space at the University of Washington Tacoma will be converted into the Clean Water Innovation Development & Technology Transfer Laboratory. A shared use lab at the Center for Urban Waters will be used to develop new clean water technologies. The WSU Puyallup Salmon Toxicology Lab will be turned into a shared use Clean Water Technology Aquatic Toxicology Lab that allows researchers from the public and private sectors to study the effects of pollution and diseases on fish, aquatic insects and bivalves.
Grays Harbor IPZ – $750,000: Mary Nelson, Port of Grays Harbor, 360.533.9504. Funds will be used by the Grays Harbor IPZ to equip the Coastal Innovation Zone R&D Business Incubator Facility with the technology needed to help businesses develop, test, and commercialize new products with a heavy focus on reuse of industry byproducts and wastes. This includes instrumentation for the lab and expansion into the adjoining warehouse space to accommodate incubator growth.