Centralia Coal Transition Board Awards Grant to Franklin Pierce School District

Building on the success of the electric bus initiative

Centralia, Wash. (February 7, 2022) In April 2021 the TransAlta Centralia Coal Transition Grants Energy Technology Board approved a grant award in the amount of $125,000 to support the installation of a 92.5kW solar system at the Franklin Pierce High School STEM building.  The energy generated from this array will be sufficient to provide the energy to charge the electric bus provided under a previous coal transition board plus three additional electric buses funded under a separate grant from the Department of Ecology.

The energy and production credit will be put back into the school’s operational budget to focus on supporting future energy projects, facility needs, and educational program. In addition, the school district will utilize the PV system to educate students on the value of alternative energy and how they can do their part to reduce carbon emissions at their school, homes and in the community.

The solar system will be installed on renovated buildings which will host the STEM program for Franklin Pierce High School students. The vision of the STEM project is to provide an inviting and inspirational facility where students can learn about the science that is part of their environment and a place where they can gain skills that will prepare them for their future. The solar generation will be displayed on the digital displays to show how the clean technology can offset a good portion of the energy required by the building.

The Energy Technology Board was formed as a result 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. The company is investing $55 million into Lewis and South Thurston Counties and the state of Washington through the Coal Transition Boards.

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.