Centralia Coal Transition Board awards grant to Energy Northwest to construct EV charging stations in Lewis County

On March 8, 2022, the Centralia Coal Transition Grants Energy Technology Board and Energy Northwest entered into a Grant Agreement to support installation of electric charging stations along the White Pass Scenic Byway located in Lewis County, Washington. The grant award of $666,602.00 will be leveraged with additional sources of funding provided by Energy Northwest, the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund, Public Utility District No. 1 of Lewis County and Twin Transit.

The purpose of the Energy Technology Board is to identify worthwhile and effective energy technologies to create energy, air quality, haze, or other environmental benefits for the State of Washington. This grant award will enhance a project already selected by the Washington State Commerce to install six additional sites and will support efforts to reduce transportation emissions. In reviewing the Grant Application, the board favorably viewed the approach of Energy Northwest to collaborate with other public and private agencies as well as residents of the community to develop the project and site locations.

The Energy Technology Board was formed per the 2011 Agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington with the intent to fund projects with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington. This agreement allowed for the Centralia plant to move away from coal-fired operations with one unit shutting down in December 2020 and the second unit in December 2025. TransAlta is investing $55 million into Lewis and South Thurston Counties and the state of Washington through the Coal Transition Boards.

Energy Northwest is a joint operating agency formed by the Washington state legislature in 1957, representing the convergence of small and big public power. Through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Transportation Alliance (EVITA) Energy Northwest has collaborated with several utilities and others to install DC Fast Charging stations along underserved corridors in Washington State. The agency’s vision is to be a regional leader in clean energy generation and public power solutions through sustained excellence in performance and innovation.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:

Annual payments for the funding boards have been made since 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.