Snohomish PUD Awarded $3.5 Million from State Clean Energy Fund

Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) will receive $3.5 million in matching funds from the Washington Clean Energy Fund. The funding, announced this week by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, will provide support for engineering and construction work to demonstrate new energy technologies including energy storage, a microgrid system, small-scale renewable energy and an electric “vehicle to grid” system. This project will show how all of these technologies can work together to improve grid resiliency, disaster recovery and renewable energy integration. Design and construction is scheduled for the 2017-2019 timeframe.

The Arlington Microgrid and Clean Energy Technology Center also will include a visitor center to educate students, teachers and the community about these emerging energy technologies. In the wake of the Cascadia Rising earthquake exercise, local agencies will be able to learn how these technologies can be used to provide electricity to critical infrastructure, which provide support to the public during disaster recovery.

The PUD will partner with both the public and private sectors, as well as academia, to use the facility as a demonstration and learning tool for a variety of stakeholders.

The grant to the PUD was one of five from the Clean Energy Fund, totaling $12.6 million. Other utilities awarded were Avista, Seattle City Light, Orcas Power and Light and Energy Northwest.

“With these awards, our leading utilities will demonstrate how to integrate battery storage with solar energy and stand-alone energy systems, train the workforce to build and maintain these systems and lead the industry into the clean energy future,” Gov. Inslee said.

“This vital support from the state allows us to better demonstrate how microgrids are the logical next step in integrating renewable energy and energy storage into the electrical grid, while driving ever increasing levels of resiliency and reliability,” said PUD CEO/General Manager Craig Collar. “It’s another example of how Washington has emerged as a leader in these important areas.”

The Arlington project complements other work by the PUD to advance energy storage technology. This fall, it will install an energy storage system at a second Everett, Wash., substation. Its overall goal is to transform the marketplace and make energy storage economically and operationally viable within the energy industry. The approach is much different than past energy storage projects and will help solve the changing needs of today’s electrical grid, which depends more on intermittent resources such as wind and solar.