Coal Transition Board Awards Energy Grant to Mary M. Knight School District
Grant to help build solar project to support campus and electric bus
(Centralia, February 1, 2022) In March 2021 the Centralia Coal Transition Grants Energy Technology Board approved a $34,030 grant to the Mary M. Knight School District (MMK) to support the installation of a 24 kW solar PV array on the south-facing roof of the bus barn located on the Matlock, Washington campus site. The system will be net metered to offset the electricity consumption of the entire campus. The utility savings provided by the solar system will go towards additional educational resources for students and necessary facility upgrades.
The MMK solar project is supported by the Renewable Schools Program and Clean Energy/Bright Futures Programs offered through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. These programs provide opportunities for grant funding to install on-site renewable generation and leverages the installation to integrate energy-focused, career-connected learning into the school’s STEM system.
MMK is in rural western-Washington, serves approximately 160 students K-12, and is located approximately 25 miles from the nearest community center. In 2020 MMK received a grant award of $310,000 from the state of Washington to replace a diesel school bus with an electric bus. The solar array on the bus barn will provide 100% of the electricity required to charge the electric bus daily.
The Energy Technology Board was formed as a result 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. The company is investing $55 million into Lewis and South Thurston Counties and the state of Washington through the Coal Transition Boards.
To view the completed solar project visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-RnlBaAtT8
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.