New White Paper Draft: The Washington Clean Energy Fund

Find the new draft of our Clean Energy Fund White Paper. It is a work-in-progress and comments are always welcome. Thanks to Lindsay McCormick, our author!

Why We Should Continue to Fund the Clean Energy Fund

  • Big Bang for the Buck– The Clean Energy Fund requires awardees to secure funding for at least half of the total cost of a project, both helping to make ambitious projects a reality and prolonging state funds to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Big Return on Investment- In the first two cycles of funding alone, Washington invested $76.4 million and attracted $166 million in matching funds, a $2.47 return on every $1 the state invested.
  • Sparks Innovation– From finding new ways to recycle aerospace materials to generating electricity from supercritical carbon dioxide to developing bio-derived plastics for the food industry, the Research, Development, and Deployment Program is sparking world-changing innovation right here in Washington.
  • Ensures Fairness in Awarding Contracts– Written into the legislation is language that requires fairness in evaluating proposals, awarding contracts, and monitoring projects so that due diligence is performed and there are no conflicts of interest.
  • Creates Jobs– CEF1 created an estimated 391 jobs and CEF2 generated an estimated 430 jobs with hundreds more created in most recent two cycles of funding and even more jobs retained.
  • Builds Communities– Through the Energy Revolving Loan Fund, nonprofit lenders have leveraged millions of dollars in funding to help both businesses and homeowners alike complete projects that make their homes and buildings more energy efficient; saving them money on energy costs and building greener communities.
  • Improves Our Electric Grid– Grid Modernization has led to ground-breaking innovations such as the development of ride-through technology, which allows for microgrids within the electricity grid to sync and un-sync seamlessly to improve efficiency.
  • Sets an Example– Washington is leading the way and setting an example for other states and countries. The Clean Energy Fund has provided a framework for others to follow and shows that funding clean energy isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for the economy too.

Cool CEF Projects

Beta Hatch Waste-Heat Recovery

Beta Hatch insects are grown indoors, in controlled environments that are kept warm and humid. The CEF project will support development of a novel waste-heat recovery approach, using low-grade waste heat from a neighboring data center to heat the Beta Hatch insect farming operation.

In the United States, waste heat represents 5-13 quadrillion British thermal units per year of potential energy to be harvested (Department of Energy). With the cheapest electricity in the country, Washington hosts millions of square feet of data centers, many concentrated in Chelan and Douglas counties. These facilities often have extremely high energy capacity and consumption rates (with an average of 9 MW/facility) but provide very few jobs. For this and other reasons, in 2018 Chelan County passed a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining and other high-density load applications. Co-locating Beta Hatch insect production with data centers would remove some of these energy-economy tradeoffs by creating jobs in conjunction with server facilities.


Impact Bioenergy Food Waste Biocycling

Impact Bioenergy will implement systematic, community-scale food waste biocycling on Vashon Island, WA. The decentralized system will eliminate the need to ship out food waste materials and bring in amendments like compost and fertilizer. Food waste will be converted to energy for heat, power and alternative fuel vehicles, liquid organic fertilizer and sequestered CO2 used in agriculture and horticulture.

The goal is to demonstrate a highly-repeatable model for hyperlocal food “waste” conversion to renewable resources at a community scale (up to 5,000 lbs./day), that stimulates climate action and a circular economy, while promoting food and energy independence. Impact Bioenergy (IB) will design, build, co-own, co-operate and maintain their AD 185-2 RNG series NAUTILUS microdigester, as a “quintgeneration” system that cogenerates: (1) renewable natural gas (RNG), (2) heat, (3) power, (4) renewable, food-grade carbon dioxide, and (5) organic plant food (which enables conservation agriculture and remediation).



Orcas Power and Light Co-Op Decatur Island Microgrid

The grant will help fund integration of a .5 MW (or 2 mWh) vanadium flow battery into OPALCO’s grid, to condition and time-shift community solar array output, improve load shape, absorb sudden spikes in energy demand, and backup critical substation and fiber optic systems. This will help the co-op save money and improve grid reliability.

The energy storage and community solar systems on Decatur Island generate seven discreet benefits to OPALCO: demand charge reduction, load shaping charge reduction, transmission charge reduction, transmission deferral, energy cost reduction, Volt-VAR/CVR, and outage mitigation.


Energy Northwest Horn Rapids Project

The Horn Rapids Solar, Storage & Training Project in Richland provides Washington state its first opportunity to integrate a large-scale solar and storage facility into its clean mix of hydro, nuclear and wind resources. This first-of-its-kind kind facility combines solar generation with battery storage and technician training. 

The site is just north of Richland, on land owned by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The project will be a 4-megawatt electric, 20-acre solar generating array of photovoltaic panels that will provide enough energy to power 600 Richland homes. The project will also include a 1-MW battery storage system; and serve as a training ground for solar and battery technicians throughout the nation. The combination of photovoltaic solar with battery storage will provide a predictable, renewable generating resource.


Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) Transactive Campus Energy Systems Project

The fundamental purpose of transactive energy management is to seamlessly coordinate the operation of large numbers of new intelligent assets—such as distributed solar, energy storage and responsive building loads—to provide the flexibility needed to operate the power grid reliably and at minimum cost, particularly one filled with intermittent renewable generation such as the Pacific Northwest. It addresses the key challenge of providing smooth, stable, and predictable “control” of these assets, despite the fact that most are neither owned nor directly controlled by the power grid.


Avista Energy Storage Project in Pullman 

Avista’s Energy Storage project is testing new batteries that can store power when it’s abundant and distribute energy when it’s needed, providing reliable energy regardless of weather patterns. The goal of the project is to explore how energy storage can help our electrical grid become more flexible, more reliable, and more resilient. When the project went online in 2015, it was the largest-capacity, vanadium-flow battery system in North America and Europe. The one-megawatt, 3.2 MWh large-scale battery storage system has the capacity to power 750 homes for 3.2 hours.