Energy Technology Board awards grant to Bonneville Environmental Foundation

Centralia, (November 16, 2020) The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Energy Technology Board is excited to announce it has approved a grant in the amount of $1,883,200 to the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to support a Renewable Hydrogen Demonstration Project being developed with Douglas County Public Utility District, the Renewable Hydrogen Alliance and Toyota Motor North America. The goal of this project is deploying the first renewable hydrogen fueling station in the Pacific Northwest which benefits both the electricity and transportation sectors.

The anticipated outcomes of the project will include location, installation, testing and an analysis of an I-5 accessible hydrogen fueling station and the use of fuel cell electric vehicles. In addition, the funding of this project will allow for the renewable hydrogen production facility in East Wenatchee to connect and supply clean fuel to the I-5 corridor and the communities of Lewis, Thurston and Douglas Counties.

“Meeting the state’s climate goals requires innovation and new technology development, particularly in the transportation sector” said Nancy Hirsh, a member of the Energy Technology Board. “We are pleased to support this demonstration project to produce renewable hydrogen for use in fuel cell vehicles. Bringing together this diverse set of stakeholders to develop this project is just the kind of collaboration that the Board likes to foster.”

The Energy Technology Board was formed as a result of the 2011 Agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington. This agreement allowed for the Centralia plant to move away from coal-fired operations with one unit retiring 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.

The Bonneville Environmental Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit working at the intersection of renewable energy and freshwater. A principal goal of the program is to increase access to renewable energy and to create community-based clean energy opportunities.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:

Annual payments for the funding boards have been made since 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.