TransAlta Coal Transition Board Awards a Grant to support a solar project for the Tumwater School District Grant to help build solar project at Peter G. Schmidt Elementary

Centralia, Wash. (November 21, 2019) The TransAlta Centralia Coal Transition Grants Energy Technology Board announced today it has approved a $99,060 grant to the Tumwater School District to support the construction of a 34kW Washington-made solar system at the Peter G. Schmidt Elementary school. The solar system project will include an interactive student engagement solar dashboard system that the district can utilize for all Tumwater students to learn more about energy generation, sustainability and how the overall solar system works.

The $99,060 grant is leveraged with funding received from the Washington Department of Commerce Energy Efficiency and a local district contribution. The solar system will save over 42,000kwh per year, accounting for 6% of the overall school’s annual energy consumption.

“Solar power provides a more efficient way for schools to meet their energy needs and the efficiency results in cost savings as well as ecological benefits” says Lori Schmitt, board member. “During the planning and design for the new building the District considered solar energy unfortunately the cost did not fit in the budget. We are pleased that the Energy Technology Board has been able to provide funding to add the infrastructure which will allow not only a savings to the District but will provide a unique educational opportunity for students.”

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.

“Tumwater School District would like to express our gratitude for this opportunity. With this successful partnership between many organizations, we are excited for Peter G. Schmidt Elementary to start using renewable energy source and reduce the footprint of our school” states Tumwater School District’s Director of Facilities, Mel Murray. “The students and teachers are also very excited to use the digital dashboard as an educational resource to have better awareness of solar energy and to learn how they can and are helping our environment.”

Tumwater School District is in Thurston County, Washington. The District encompasses 117 square miles and is the third largest district in Thurston County, serving over 6,000 students. The District includes the City of Tumwater and its urban growth area and unincorporated Thurston County.

“ATS truly values the partnerships we have with our customers, such as the Tumwater School District” says Moe Salem, Business Development Manager for ATS Automation. “Not only are we able to assist the District in implementing energy-saving technology, we also get to provide learning opportunities for students to engage in conservation and energy management.”

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.