MUKILTEO — Gov. Jay Inslee awarded $14.3 million in grants Tuesday to help utility districts use technology to better integrate wind and solar energy into the state’s electrical grid.
Inslee announced the grants at a stop at UniEnergy Technology here, which produces energy storage systems for utilities and businesses.
“This is about storing solar energy to power our lights even on cloudy days,” Inslee said in a news release.
The Snohomish County Public Utility District will receive the biggest share of the money, at $7.3 million. Puget Sound Energy will receive $3.8 million. Avista Corp. will receive $3.2 million.
The PUD and its principal partner, 1Energy Systems, a Seattle-based company, are building the energy storage systems, which will include two large-scale lithium ion batteries, one built by LG Chem and a second by Mitsubishi-GS Yuasa.
The PUD also will deploy multiple advanced vanadium flow batteries, which will be built by UniEnergy.
Since wind and solar power generation is irregular, and not always available during peak energy demand hours, energy storage can make clean energy available wherever and whenever it is needed, according to the PUD.
As clean energy generation costs continue to decline, energy storage is the critical element needed to foster renewable energy growth.