OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced seven grants totaling $4.76 million from the state’s Clean Energy Fund to enhance dairy digesters and advance clean energy in rural communities. These investments will result in improved air and water quality or soil health, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and local economic benefits.

“The clean energy economy is rich with opportunities for every corner of Washington state, as evidenced by the innovative project proposals from these rural communities,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “These investments in diverse technologies contribute to our climate and clean energy goals and support cross-cutting priorities including sustainable climate-smart business models for the agriculture sector, community energy resilience, jobs and economic development, and tribal sovereignty.”

In Whatcom County, for example, FPE Renewables will install a new generator technology, which will improve efficiency, increase annual renewable electrical production, and result in decreased air emissions at the Vander Haak Dairy and surrounding community.

“Co-digestion projects involving dairy manure and pre-consumer food processing waste provide numerous environmental benefits to the community, state, and the nation,” said Steve Vander Haak, FPE Renewables owner and managing partner. “Key among those benefits are stabilization of waste organic streams for use as a renewable fertilizer, production of renewable electricity for charging EVs, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and reduction in odors incurred during processing, storage and application of the organic slurries wastes.”

Vander Haak noted that once installed and at full capacity, FPE Renewables should be able to supply enough renewable electricity to operate over 3,000 electric cars annually – all from waste manure and food residuals.

The Spokane Tribe will conduct a significant energy efficiency and decarbonization overhaul of the Tribal Administrative Building in Stevens County. The estimated reduction in utilities bill for the building as a result of these energy efficiency improvements is projected to be over $30,000 annually.

“This funding will not only address many of the utilities related problems which the Tribal Administrative Building is currently having; but also making the building more energy efficient and green,” said Maria Cullooyah, Spokane Tribe of Indians Director of Public Works and Utilities.

“This project will set an example for all other Spokane Tribal buildings and facilities going forward, as well as a new overall sustainable decarbonization approach toward any tribal projects in the future."

The full list of Rural Clean Energy Innovation grants announced today:

  • $1 million to Colville Retail Marijuana Sales (Nespelem, Okanagan County) the K’Wusm project, which will fund a Solar-Generating Greenhouse for Cultivation and Community Services.
  • $412,588 to Farm Power Lynden LLC (Custer, Whatcom County) for a hydrogen sulfide scrubber and generator as part of the Low-Carbon Community Digester Restart project.
  • $1 million to FPE Renewables (Lynden, Whatcom County) for the Installation of Additional High-Efficiency Generating Capacity for Improved Electric Vehicle Fuel Sales.
  • $500,000 to Pacific Ag Renewables (Sunnyside, Yakima County) for the Sunnyside Renewable Natural Gas project.
  • $598,800 to Public Utility District No. 1 of Skagit (Mount Vernon, Skagit Count) for the Mount Vernon High School Energy Recovery Demonstration project.
  • $990,880 to Spokane Tribe of Indians (Wellpinit, Stevens County) for Energy Efficiency and Decarbonization Overhaul for the Spokane Tribe Administrative Building.
  • $258,092 to the Town of Winthrop (Winthrop, Okanagan County) for the Winthrop Library solar project.

To support the state’s equity and climate goals, Commerce prioritized projects based on alignment with the 2021 State Energy Strategy, policy outcomes, and benefits to tribes, rural communities, and/or vulnerable groups. Projects that established partnerships or workforce development opportunities were also prioritized in the scoring criteria. Other criteria for dairy digester applicants included whether projects were replicable at other dairies or exceeded the minimum regulatory requirements to make environmental improvements.

All of these competitive grant awards are conditional upon the execution of final project agreements and performance-based contracts with Commerce. These selected projects were among 16 applicants, requesting a total of more than $8.6 million.

Funding for the program is from the Clean Energy Fund. Since it was created by the Washington Legislature in 2013, the Clean Energy Fund has invested $291 million to develop and deploy innovative clean energy technologies that benefit communities throughout the state. To date, Clean Energy Fund grants have been the catalyst for millions more in matching investments from numerous non-state sources including private companies, utilities, and research institutions. These public-private partnerships have accelerated innovation in energy storage, renewable energy generation, recycling, manufacturing, and grid modernization that have helped make advance the state’s clean energy goals.

Clean Energy Fund investments have helped incentivize public and private utilities and their partners to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies. For information on this and upcoming Clean Energy Fund grant opportunities, visit www.commerce.wa.gov/CEF.

Source: Washington State Department of Commerce

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