Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board supports energy upgrades for Riverside Fire Authority

Centralia, (July 15, 2019) The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board is pleased to announce it has approved a grant to improve energy conservation, reduce operating costs and optimize building use and performance for the Riverside Fire Authority. The project will replace antiquated heating ventilation, air conditioning and water heating systems at the downtown Centralia Fire Station and the Fords Prairie Fire Station. 

The grant amount of $300,000 will allow the Riverside Fire Authority to realize optimal production and energy use and, provide the opportunity to return the buildings to a state which supports the 24-hour career firefighters staffed at both locations and provides shelter for emergency personnel and civilians.

“The Weatherization Board has invested millions of dollars into the local community to support energy efficiency projects over the last several years” said Jeff Yanish, board member. “The upgrade projects proposed by the Riverside Fire Authority serve two primary purposes, providing an energy efficient environment for firefighters, EMS personnel and at times, for community members during emergency situations and second, they will see a reduction in energy use and costs associated with maintenance and monthly bills.”

The Weatherization Board was formed as part 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.

Receiving the grant from the Centralia Coal Transition board is a tremendous benefit to our Department and the citizens of the greater Centralia area” said Michael Kytta, Fire Chief. “The 24 hour staffed fire stations that we all depend on will gain improved energy conservation, lower operating costs and greater capacity year-round to serve the public and our personnel. Without this grant these improvements would not be possible.”

The Riverside Fire Authority (RFA) began operations on January 1, 2008 when the City of Centralia Fire Department and Lewis County Fire District 12 combined forces. Today the RFA encompasses 184 square miles and provides fire and EMS protection for 23,320 residents. The RFA has 22 career and 45 volunteer fire fighters, two career staff and 6 fire stations.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:

Annual payments for the funding boards began in 2012 with the last payment due Dec. 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.