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