Innovative Washington State Clean Energy Projects Gain Federal Attention and Funding

Gov. Inslee announces nearly $5 million in federal matching grants to help public-private partnerships through the Washington Clean Energy Fund


Five projects around Washington state have been awarded $4.98 million from the state’s Clean Energy Fund, helping them to secure federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) for their groundbreaking work to advance the development of clean energy technologies.

“The eyes of the industry are on the work we are doing here in Washington state. These technologies hold the promise of ensuring a healthy environment and a vibrant economy with good-paying jobs for Washingtonians. We must continue to invest in our clean energy future,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

Inslee made the announcement today in remarks at the “Waste to Worth” 2015 Conference in Seattle where he noted that research at Washington State University to capture more economic benefits from manure digesters is one of the projects. The WSU project will provide dairy farmers new technology that can turn digesters into bio-refineries capable of producing other products for sale that could pay for capital and operating costs of the systems and generate additional revenue.

A $500,000 state Clean Energy Fund grant qualifies WSU to compete for $500,000 in federal USDA funds, and sets the stage for a second proposal to U.S. Department of Agriculture and USDOE for $1 million, with a $1 million match from the national dairy industry, to assess and advance this model on a national scale.

The Clean Energy Fund, administered by the State Energy Office at the Department of Commerce, supports projects that develop, demonstrate, and deploy clean energy technologies with potential to save energy and reduce energy costs, reduce carbon pollution and increase Washington’s energy independence. In addition to the $500,000 for WSU, the other federal matching grants announced today are:

  • $2.25 million to Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) to support use of new demand-response or “transactive” energy systems for PNNL, UW and WSU campus buildings. Software and automation allow utilities to adapt more easily and much faster to changing flows on the network, resulting in more efficient operations, better reliability and reduced waste.
  • $1 million to Snohomish PUD, Bonneville Power Administration and UW for “energy positioning” which allows electric utilities with battery storage systems to more easily use renewable power sources like wind and solar as well as realize other benefits such as increased reliability and operating cost savings.
  • $518,000 to the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center for development of smaller hydropower turbines in streams to generate electricity in sensitive ecological environments.
  • $712,000 to the Carbon Recycling Technology Center in Port Angeles which seeks to recycle carbon fiber scrap from original manufacturing into reusable, lower-cost composite materials for making new products.

Previous Clean Energy Fund federal matching grants were awarded to Pacific Northwest National Labs (PNNL) for business case analysis and other work related to three Smart Grid energy storage projects underway since July 2014 with electric utilities Snohomish PUD, Puget Sound Energy and Avista Corp.

Established in 2013, Washington’s $40 million Clean Energy Fund hopes to leverage $200 million in matching funds from industry partners over the next 10 years. Inslee has requested $60 million for the Clean Energy Fund in his 2015-17 budget: $15 million to expand the energy revolving loan fund, $10 million to provide credit enhancements for advanced solar and renewable energy manufacturing, $20 million for grants to utilities for additional integration of energy storage technologies, and $15 million for grants to match federal funds or other non-state sources used to support R&D on clean energy technologies.