Centralia Coal Transition Board Funds Long Duration Battery Feasibility Study

Centralia, (July 14, 2020) – The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Energy Technology Board (“CCTGETB”) is pleased to announce it has approved a $350,000 grant to TransAlta Corporation to support a feasibility study for a long duration battery storage project next to the existing Centralia Power Plant. The funds from CCTGETB will support the feasibility study in which TransAlta plans to engage the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (“PNNL”) to study the value proposition and benefits that a long duration battery could provide in a strategically located area such as Centralia.

“The Energy Technology Fund supports projects in Washington state that benefit clean energy, air quality or the environment and this potential battery project meets that mission” says Matt Matayoshi, a member of the coal transition board. “The results of the technical and economic evaluation will not only help determine if the project has a local fit but will be informative within the utility industry at a state level.”

“This study is a great opportunity to further expand our understanding of battery assets and the overall support role they could play in delivering essential renewable power to the grid while contributing to the Centralia community which TransAlta has been a part of since 2000,” said Aron Willis, Senior Vice President, Growth. “We are pleased for the support of the Centralia Coal Transition Board in assisting us to explore new technology that could improve the reliability of renewable power generation and support further investments in the community to assist the coal transition.”

The current scope of the study includes evaluating the installation of a 1 MW battery situated next to the Centralia Power Plant. As part of the feasibility study, PNNL will assess a range of power and energy capacities and define the optimal capacities under varying assumptions regarding future policies,  including price impacts of a carbon tax, a 100 per cent renewable portfolio standard in Washington State, or the presence of a Bonneville Power Administration demand response program. TransAlta anticipates the battery will provide a range of services to the grid and assist in understanding the role energy storage could play in the market as Washington State moves towards its renewable energy goals.

The study is expected to take six to ten months to complete and once completed TransAlta would evaluate a decision to move forward with a further investment in a pilot project.

The Energy Technology Board was formed as a result of the 2011 agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington. This agreement allowed Centralia to plan 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.

About TransAlta Corporation:

TransAlta owns, operates and develops a diverse fleet of electrical power generation assets in Canada, the United States and Australia with a focus on long-term shareholder value. TransAlta provides municipalities, medium and large industries, businesses and utility customers with clean, affordable, energy efficient and reliable power. Today, TransAlta is one of Canada’s largest producers of wind power and Alberta’s largest producer of hydroelectric power. For over 100 years, TransAlta has been a responsible operator and a proud community-member where its employees work and live. TransAlta aligns its corporate goals with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and has been recognized by CDP (formerly Climate Disclosure Project) as an industry leader on Climate Change Management. TransAlta is proud to have achieved the Silver level PAR (Progressive Aboriginal Relations) designation by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

For more information about TransAlta, visit its web site at

About PNNL:

PNNL has developed a portfolio of analytic tools that range from production cost modeling of large interconnects to distribution system analyses that studied control strategies of central and distributed storage systems such as customer-side storage or utility-owned and grid-connected storage. PNNL has evaluated the economic and/or technical performance of energy storage systems for several utilities across the Pacific Northwest, including Avista, Energy Northwest, Eugene Water and Electric Board, Orcas Power and Light Co-op, Portland General Electric, Puget Sound Energy, and the Snohomish Public Utility District. PNNL brings these capabilities and experience to this collaborative study and will help ensure that the funds granted are used efficiently and will provide value to the Centralia community.

For more information about PNNL visit

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.