Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board supports improving energy efficiency for college campus

Centralia, (April 4, 2018) The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board is pleased to announce it has approved a grant to help improve the learning environment for students by replacing old lighting technology with new LED lighting. The upgrade from old to new technology will improve the physical characteristics of the classroom and provide over 40% in electrical energy savings and reduce maintenance costs and operational disruptions. The exterior lighting will also help address safety and security concerns by providing better lamination of parking lots, walkways, and open spaces between buildings.

The grant amount of $231,843.00 will be leveraged with Department of Commerce Funding and Centralia City Light and Puget Sound Energy Utility Rebates to install new lighting in several buildings located on the campus grounds and for upgrades to the exterior lighting throughout the campus. This project supports the College’s energy efficiency goals and provides an enhanced learning environment for students and faculty.

“Lighting retrofits are an excellent way to reduce energy use while improving student productivity as the lighting quality with LED technology is superior to traditional fluorescent lights” said Board member Nancy Hirsh. “The Board is pleased to be able to help the College save on its electricity bill so more funds are available for educational purposes” said Hirsh.

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.

“Thanks to the grant from the Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board, the college is able to reduce energy costs while improving the learning environment and addressing safety and security concerns”, said Steve Ward, Vice President for Finance and Administration. “In the current fiscal environment, the college would not be able to make these changes without the help of the grant.”

Founded in 1925, Centralia College is the oldest continuous operating community college in the state of Washington. The college has grown from the initial class of 15 students, to an enrollment of nearly 4,000 students. Centralia College is also home to the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy. The Center has been successful in developing partnerships with industry for placement of graduates from the Energy Program, and in securing grants for training and equipment for students.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:

Annual payments for the funding boards have been made for the past six years 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.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit:

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