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TransAlta Coal Transition Board Supports The Onalaska High School Aquaculture Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Centralia, Wash. (August 15, 2018) – The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board (“ECD Board”) is pleased to announce it has approved a grant in the amount of $23,500 to the Onalaska School District to support their unique Aquaculture Program. The students of this program raise, rear and release approximately 35,000 Steelhead, 100,000 Coho Salmon, and 9,000 Rainbow Trout into the Newaukum River Basin and the Carlisle Lake. Their work along with the partnerships they have established with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force, and the Chehalis Tribe provides not only an educational experience, but a community opportunity for youth fishing events.

“This is a project that gives students an opportunity to witness first hand their work and allows them to enhance relationships with their partners” said Lori Schmitt, ECD Board Member. “Students will learn from this program, develop relationships with the agencies they work with and create an opportunity to support their local community. These are all areas the board considers when reviewing applications which have an educational opportunity. We are looking forward to hearing more about the operations of this program and seeing the results.”

Under the agreement between TransAlta and the State of Washington to transition the Centralia facility off coal, TransAlta is investing $55 million into the local community and the state of Washington. To date, TransAlta has awarded approximately $13.9 million through its coal transition grant boards.

The funding from the ECD Board will support the completion of a second hatchery building which will be used as a Rainbow Trout rearing facility capable of producing 200 three-pound Rainbow trout each year which will be planted in Carlisle Lake for recreational fishing. All students of Onalaska High School have an opportunity to participate in this project of raising the trout from eggs to adults and in performing all hatchery operations needed to achieve a successful project.

“As a teacher, having spent eight years in the Aquaculture field working for private, state and tribal hatcheries, my goal is to teach each student the basics of Aquaculture, and more importantly the critical thinking and teamwork needed to maintain the program” said Kevin Hoffman, Aquaculture Teacher for the Onalaska School District. “The students are excited and appreciative of this funding by the ECD Board.”

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:
Annual payments for the funding boards began in 2012 with the last payment due December 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County;

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility;

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit: http://cctgrants.com.

Centralia Coal Transition Economic & Community Development Board approves transition plan for TransAlta Centralia employees

The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board (“ECD Board”) has approved a transition plan to support displaced workers at the Centralia Plant, including a one-time lump sum payment and funding for educational opportunities. The board has approved $8 million to support the transition needs of workers. An additional $1 million is available for employees to apply for education grants to fund education and retraining opportunities, with this amount being subject to board review based on the demand.

Under the 2011 agreement between TransAlta and the State of Washington, TransAlta committed to investing $55 million into the local community and the State of Washington. The agreement provides for $20 million in funding for economic and community development support, with at least $5 million allocated to support workers displaced by the scheduled closure of the coal-fired units in 2020 and 2025.

“The members of the ECD Board invested a considerable amount of time exploring options and discussing opportunities to fulfill the commitment to support displaced workers, says Matt Matayoshi, ECD board member. “A one-time lump sum payment to each displaced worker is intended to help employees transition as they begin a new career, or move on to other opportunities. In addition to this payment, employees who were employed at the Centralia Plant as of January 1, 2018 will have an opportunity to apply for grants to enhance current skills and/or to develop new skills. The board wanted to provide flexibility, recognizing there will be different needs for displaced workers with the goal of maximizing opportunities for employees.”

The ECD Board operates independently of TransAlta and is comprised of volunteer Board members.

“We are very grateful to have a Board that is committed to TransAlta’s displaced workers and our community and appreciate the time and effort the board has put into identifying and implementing timely solutions and flexible opportunities for the transition,” says Bob Nelson, President of TransAlta USA. “We appreciate the ongoing commitment Centralia employees have made as we transition away from coal-fired operations and hope this plan will allow employees and their families to remain in the community.”

Overview of the Funding Boards

Annual payments to the funding boards have been made for the past six years, with the last payment due Dec. 31, 2023. The funds are as follows:

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations, and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County.

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility including but not limited to direct support for displaced workers.

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit: http://cctgrants.com

 Inquiries:                                                                    

 Email: coaltransitionboards@transalta.com

Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board supports improving energy efficiency for college campus

Centralia, (April 4, 2018) The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board is pleased to announce it has approved a grant to help improve the learning environment for students by replacing old lighting technology with new LED lighting. The upgrade from old to new technology will improve the physical characteristics of the classroom and provide over 40% in electrical energy savings and reduce maintenance costs and operational disruptions. The exterior lighting will also help address safety and security concerns by providing better lamination of parking lots, walkways, and open spaces between buildings.

The grant amount of $231,843.00 will be leveraged with Department of Commerce Funding and Centralia City Light and Puget Sound Energy Utility Rebates to install new lighting in several buildings located on the campus grounds and for upgrades to the exterior lighting throughout the campus. This project supports the College’s energy efficiency goals and provides an enhanced learning environment for students and faculty.

“Lighting retrofits are an excellent way to reduce energy use while improving student productivity as the lighting quality with LED technology is superior to traditional fluorescent lights” said Board member Nancy Hirsh. “The Board is pleased to be able to help the College save on its electricity bill so more funds are available for educational purposes” said Hirsh.

The Weatherization Board was formed as part of the 2011 Agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington to transition the Centralia plant away from coal-fired operations with one unit shutting down in December 2020 and the second unit in December 2025.

“Thanks to the grant from the Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board, the college is able to reduce energy costs while improving the learning environment and addressing safety and security concerns”, said Steve Ward, Vice President for Finance and Administration. “In the current fiscal environment, the college would not be able to make these changes without the help of the grant.”

Founded in 1925, Centralia College is the oldest continuous operating community college in the state of Washington. The college has grown from the initial class of 15 students, to an enrollment of nearly 4,000 students. Centralia College is also home to the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy. The Center has been successful in developing partnerships with industry for placement of graduates from the Energy Program, and in securing grants for training and equipment for students.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:

Annual payments for the funding boards have been made for the past six years with the last payment due Dec. 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County;

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility;

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit: http://cctgrants.com

Media Inquiries:                                                          

Email: coaltransitionboards@transalta.com

TransAlta Coal Transition Board Awards $2 Million to Centralia Community Foundation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TransAlta Coal Transition Board Awards $2 Million to Centralia Community Foundation – Grant assists Lewis County students prepare for college and careers, part of TransAlta’s $55M coal transition investment into the local community 

Centralia, Wash. (November 15, 2017) – Thanks to a $2 million-dollar grant awarded to Centralia Community Foundation by the TransAlta Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board, the Foundation will partner with the Centralia School District and Centralia School Board to build a district-wide evaluation and instruction plan to prepare students for college and vocational careers.

“The vision that the Centralia Community Foundation shared with us is that by supporting and improving the educational system, the entire community will be able to realize the benefits of this investment,” said Mickey Dreher, transition board member.  “This approach has worked elsewhere and the board is excited to be part of such an important community-driven journey.”

Under the historic agreement between TransAlta and the State of Washington to transition the Centralia facility off coal, TransAlta is investing $55 million into the local community and the state of Washington. To date, TransAlta has awarded nearly $3.7 million through its coal transition grant boards.

“These TransAlta funds will make a difference in this community,” State Governor Jay Inslee said. “By investing in local education, options for youth will be expanded.  This dovetails nicely with the new STEM facilities currently under construction in both Centralia and Chehalis. Together we can make a difference for young people throughout this region.”

“We are truly pleased to be able to help transform public education for Centralia students through this grant,” said Dawn Farrell, CEO and President of TransAlta.

The project will launch a systemic approach to preparing students to enroll and be successful in college or vocational careers. The BERC Group will partner and coach administrators to enhance teaching practices, strategies and methods. The TransAlta Coal Transition Board’s $2 million grant will begin by funding the initial assessments and establishing milestones and metrics with the goal to enhance the effectiveness of the new Centralia High School STEM facilities currently under construction.

“The unique role of a community foundation is the ability to create public/private partnerships that bring different entities together for a common vision” said Tim Browning, Vice-President of the Board and Chairman of the Education Committee. “We have seen how successful and measurable that strategy is in advancing education in Chehalis schools. The Centralia Community Foundation was formed to follow the success of the Chehalis Foundation while making specific changes to reflect the unique Centralia population.”

The project is being built off the neighboring Chehalis Foundation effort, which commissioned the BERC Group to evaluate their school systems. To date, Chehalis has seen higher numbers of graduates accepted into colleges with scholarships and classroom improvement across the district.

Mark Davalos, Superintendent of Centralia School District, is excited about the role that education will play in building a stronger community. “The Centralia School District is thrilled to receive any and all assistance to become a better organization of learning. Our challenges are many, but we believe our partnership with the Centralia Community Foundation will support us in providing what is needed to help our students with greater access to college and career preparation.”

The Centralia Community Foundation was formed in June 2016 to enhance the lives of citizens of Centralia by supporting the creation of a highly successful education system. The Foundation recognizes that a vibrant school district is critical to attracting businesses and families to select Centralia their home. The organization taps some of the area’s most optimistic, successful and accomplished community leaders all with the goal of improving Centralia for the generations to come.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:
Annual payments for the funding boards have been made for the past five years with the last payment due December 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County;

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility;

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit: http://cctgrants.com.

Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board supports energy efficient boilers for Toledo School District

For immediate release

Centralia, (September 13, 2017) The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board is pleased to announce it has approved a grant to help ensure that students and faculty at Toledo Elementary School have a warm and safe environment. The project will replace its obsolete, failing and inefficient elementary school boilers with energy efficient and reliable boilers.

The grant amount of $231,400.00 will be used to replace the 1995 boilers which currently operate at 75-80% efficiency and will be replaced with boilers that provide 85-96% thermal efficiency depending on how much heat is required. The School District will be leveraging the funding dollars with a Puget Sound Energy rebate program. The project is expected to begin June, 2018 and to be completed by September, 2018 but could occur earlier if necessary.

“In reviewing this application, the Funding Board members saw that there was a definite need for the boiler replacement. With the history of operational failure and the difficulty in finding replacement parts as parts are becoming or, are obsolete, the board recognized that the negative impacts could be not only to the school building, but to the education and environment for the children and faculty”, said Lori Schmitt, Weatherization Board Member. “Being able to use this funding along with the rebate will allow the School District to take the worry away.”

The Weatherization Board was formed as part of the 2011 Agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington to transition the Centralia plant away from coal-fired operations with one unit shutting down in December, 2020 and the second unit in December, 2025.

“A boiler failure could have interrupted the school year for our students,” said superintendent Chris Rust. “State emergency funds weren’t available for this project and local funds have been allocated to other projects. We’re grateful that the Weatherization Board grant allows us to replace the boilers and restore some peace of mind.”

The Toledo School District is a rural public school district that was founded in 1892 and serves approximately 750 students in grades kindergarten through grade 12. Four schools serve the needs of Toledo students where educators and administrators are grounded in the district motto “Each Child, Each Day, Each Classroom”.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:

Annual payments for the funding boards have been made for the past five years with the last payment due Dec. 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County;

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility;

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit: http://cctgrants.com

Media Inquiries:                                                          

Email: coaltransitionboards@transalta.com