Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland has been awarded $2.25 million from the Washington Clean Energy Fund, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday.
The money is to help the Department of Energy laboratory secure matching funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to advance the development of clean energy technologies.
PNNL is working with the University of Washington and Washington State University in Pullman to develop systems that would allow all three campuses to respond to the local and regional needs of the power grid.
The project would use techniques, communication equipment and software developed as part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, which is nearing completion. National and Northwest energy leaders are meeting in Spokane this week to discuss what’s next as the smart grid demonstration project wraps up.
The new project proposed by PNNL and the universities would serve as a test bed for research and development to allow buildings and campuses to automatically respond to fluctuations on the power grid by increasing or decreasing the amount of electricity they are using at the time.
Software and automation could allow the utilities serving the campuses, including the city of Richland’s electrical service, to adapt more easily and more quickly to changing flows on the network. The result is expected to be more efficient operations, better reliability and reduced waste, according to information from the governor’s office.
“The eyes of industry are on the work we are doing here in Washington state,” Inslee said, announcing a total of $4.98 million in awards from the Clean Energy Fund.
“These technologies hold the promise of ensuring a healthy environment and a vibrant economy with good-paying jobs for Washingtonians,” the governor said.
PNNL already has started working on the federal match for the state money, with costs to be split 50-50 between the state and federal government. It has commitments for some of the needed federal match, according to PNNL.