Office of Electricity

Building a Greener, More Resilient Future in Washington State

July 18, 2014

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Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, UniEnergy Technologies CEO Dr. Z. Gary Yang, and Assistant Secretary Patricia Hoffman (left to right) at the July 8 event in Mukilteo, Washington. 
Photo courtesy of Office of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, UniEnergy Technologies CEO Dr. Z. Gary Yang, and Assistant Secretary Patricia Hoffman (left to right) at the July 8 event in Mukilteo, Washington. Photo courtesy of Office of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee

I traveled to Washington State last week for an exciting event that showed yet again how strong partnerships are helping move the nation towards a cleaner, more resilient and flexible electric grid. On July 8, Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Commerce announced more than $14 million in smart grid matching grants from the State’s Clean Energy Fund.  This funding will help three utilities – Avista Corp., Puget Sound Energy and Snohomish Public Utility District – test and deploy new energy storage technologies designed to help integrate renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar onto the electric grid. The aim is to support greater deployment of these technologies and build a grid that is more efficient, flexible and resilient to the effects of climate change.

I congratulate Governor Inslee for his leadership in expanding the use of energy storage in Washington State to help support the integration of renewable energy onto the electric grid. These investments represent the kind of innovation and public/private partnerships needed to help America lead in the global clean energy economy.

The event was held at the Mukilteo, Washington facility of UniEnergy Technologies (UET) which licensed vanadium redox flow battery technology that was developed by the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and funded by OE. Two of the winning utilities will install UET's all-vanadium redox flow batteries as part of their projects. The utilities will consult PNNL’s “use cases” – descriptions of ways in which energy storage can increase renewable energy use and improve grid efficiency and resiliency – as they implement and evaluate their projects. It is also expected that PNNL will provide analytical and technical support.  

Last week’s announcement builds on the Energy Department’s smart grid investments and deployment efforts, including the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project and Smart Grid Investment Grant funding. Our investments are helping to build a more resilient electric grid that allows communities to adapt to increased severe weather events and enables the integration of distributed and renewable energy resources.  As economic and personal losses from electricity outages due to severe weather, we will continue working closely with our public and private partners to help communities be better prepared for climate change and keep the nation moving toward a more resilient, efficient and secure energy infrastructure.  

To learn more about OE’s Energy Storage Program and the wide range of research and development that we support, visit the Energy Storage page.