Centralia Coal Transition Board Awards Grant to Support Student Vision

Centralia, WA (May 19, 2022) The Energy Technology Board approved a $120,000 grant to the Tacoma Public School District. The funding will support the installation of a 99.9kW solar array on the roof of the activities wing. Inspired and spearheaded by a team of student activists, Tacoma Public School “Watts Up!” solar project is expected to produce electrical energy for over 25 years and offset more than 3 million pounds of CO2 in its lifetime; save approximately $5,000 in energy costs annually; and create a living laboratory to power career-connected learning in the science and field of energy for the 30,000 students served by the Tacoma Public Schools.

This is the first solar project installation within the Tacoma Public School District and serves as a model for future innovative technology projects in the district and beyond. The project represents the culmination of work done by Jason Lee students in Mrs. Hall’s science classes as part of their study of renewable energy sources. The project has been completed and a celebration was held on Earth Day, April 22, 2022.

Visit to read more about the project.

The Energy Technology Board was formed per 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.