Commerce announces $10.6 million in state Clean Energy Fund grants for grid modernization

Source: Department of Commerce, April 16

The Washington State Department of Commerce has selected four proposed electric grid modernization projects to receive grants from the Washington Clean Energy Fund.  Pending final contracts, Avista, Orcas Power and Light, Puget Sound Energy and Tacoma Power are eligible for a total of $10.6 million in state funds. Individual grants range from $1 – $3 million and grant must be matched by the utilities and their project partners at a minimum one-to-one ratio. 

“Washington’s leading utilities, along with their technology partners and customers, are transforming the nation’s electric grid. With these latest grants, our state Clean Energy Fund helps them move the industry closer to a low-carbon future,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, who launched the fund in 2013.

“Clean Energy Fund investments create business opportunities and jobs, strengthening communities all across the state,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “These grants are instrumental in advancing technology and systems that will ultimately make our grid more efficient, flexible and economical to operate, more reliable and resilient in emergencies.”

Customer participation is essential to the next steps in grid modernization efforts by Washington’s public and private utilities. The existing grid system has been built to handle peak loads so that power is available all the time – “on-demand.” This is neither efficient nor cost-effective because it leaves expensive power generation plants and transmission infrastructure underused during off-peak times or isolated areas out of power in emergencies. These projects will use technology to find other ways for the system to meet customer demand in a reliable and cost-effective way. More specific details will be announced as contracts are executed for each project.

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