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Funding Opportunities

Current: Electrification of Transportation

The Electrification of Transportation Systems (ETS) Program has more than $10 million in funding available through the Clean Energy Fund (CEF) Program administered by the Washington Department of Commerce. The ETS grant program is designed to promote the continued transformation of the electric transportation market in Washington. This program provides grants for infrastructure to charge electric vehicles.

COMMERCE is prioritizing projects that are innovative in the following ways:

  • Charging infrastructure technology,
  • Load management strategies,
  • Implementation or deployment strategies that overcome known or anticipated barriers to project implementation (For example: project financing), and
  • Meeting highly impacted and vulnerable community needs, particularly those disproportionately impacted by climate change and pollution from transportation systems.

Eligible applicants are local governments and electric utilities, and projects have to serve at least one of the following:

  • Public Transportation
  • Local Government Fleet Vehicles
  • Workplace Charging
  • Multi-Unit Dwelling (MUD) Resident Charging (Note: EVSE that exclusively or primarily serves residential buildings that are not Multi-Unit dwellings will not be considered)
  • Public Charging
  • Port – Marine or Aircraft

Deadlines: Letters of Intent from local governments and electric utilities were required by March 5, 2020. Full applications from these entities were due on June 1, 2020.

Letters of Intent from federally recognized tribal governments were required by May 29, 2020. Full applications from tribal governments are due on July 30, 2020.
Click here to learn about all the requirements for this grant program, including match funding.

Current: VW Settlement for Tribal Governments

In 2015 Volkswagen was cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board for violating emissions standards by selling diesel vehicles equipped with "defeat devices." These devices allowed the cars to pass federal emissions tests, but during actual driving conditions they emitted significantly more air pollutants than allowed by the Clean Air Act. The federal government sued the company, and in 2016 VW settled the cases for $14.7 billion.

As part of the settlement, $2.8 billion was set aside for states and Tribes to fund diesel emission mitigation projects. $55 million of this money is earmarked for Tribes, in a trust called the "Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust for Indian Tribe Beneficiaries," or just the "Tribal Trust." Any federally recognized Tribe can apply for funding from the Tribal Trust, which they can use to replace old, polluting diesel vehicles or equipment with new, cleaner models, or even install electric vehicle charging stations.

January 15, 2020 - To view the Trustee Notice Of The Third Funding Cycle Under The Modified Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust For Indian Tribe Beneficiaries, please click here

Funding Results from Previous Opportunities

WSDOT Green Transit Grants

In 2019 the WSDOT Public Transportation Division established a Green Transportation Capital Grant Program to fund zero emission vehicles for public transit agencies. The purpose of the grant program is to aid any Washington transit authority in funding cost-effective capital projects to reduce the carbon intensity of the Washington transportation system. (RCW 47.66.120) $12 million was available in the first round of grants. WSDOT offered these examples of possible capital projects:

  • Electrification of vehicle fleets, including battery and fuel cell operated electric vehicles.
  • Modification or replacement of capital facilities in order to facilitate fleet electrification and/or hydrogen refueling.
  • Necessary upgrades to electrical transmission and distribution systems.
  • Construction of charging and fueling stations.

In 2020, the Washington Legislature approved funding the following projects recommended by WSDOT:

For more information, contact Jillian Nordstrom, or 360-705-7911.

Electric School Buses

In one of the largest such investments in the country, the Washington Department of Ecology offered grants during fall 2019 for about $12,000,000 statewide to help school districts purchase all-electric school buses. To help offset the cost difference between electric and diesel buses, Ecology would provide up to $325,000 per electric bus. Grant recipients could elect to use up to $50,000 of the $325,000 grant to help pay for the associated electric charging infrastructure. The results of this grant offering were announced in April 2020.

As the chart below shows, the grants will fund the purchase of 40 new electric school buses in 22 districts around the state.

For more information, contact Mike Boyer, or 360-407-6863.

Electric school bus grants, by the numbers (Dept. of Ecology)

  • 400,000 – Number of zero-emission miles these buses will drive each year
  • 19,200 tons – Lifetime reduction in carbon dioxide emissions
  • 3,000 – Number of children these buses will carry each day
  • 2007 – All of the electric buses will replace pre-2007 diesel buses, with older emissions controls
  • 67% – Two-thirds of these electric buses will serve communities disproportionately affected by diesel pollution.
  • 36 tons – Lifetime reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions
  • 1 – Current number of electric school buses in Washington (in Tacoma’s Franklin Pierce School District)

Workplace charging

During fall 2019, the Washington Department of Ecology offered grants to provide up to $2,250,000 to install Level 2 and direct current (DC) fast charging equipment for employee workplace charging at government-owned facilities in Washington. Eligible applicants included state, county, and city governments in Washington. The maximum amount for an individual grant award was set at $200,000. Ecology offered to pay the lessor of up to:

  • $9,000 per dual-head Level 2 charger or up to 60% of eligible costs.
  • $30,000 per dual-head DC fast charger or up to 60% of eligible costs.

This grant opportunity closed on November 7, 2019. Stay tuned for the results.

Corridor charging

In December 2019, the Washington Department of Ecology opened a grant opportunity for direct current fast chargers (DCFC) along high-traffic transportation corridors in Washington. About $4,000,000 was made available on a competitive basis to state, local, or tribal governments; private businesses, and incorporated nonprofits (see detailed in the grant guidelines). Ecology prioritized projects in communities that were disproportionately impacted by VW vehicle diesel pollution and those located within 1.5 miles of a high-traffic corridor. The maximum amount for an individual grant award is $600,000. Ecology will pay the lessor of up to:

  • $95,000 per charger or up to 80% of eligible costs to install new dual-head DCFC.
  • $105,000 per charger or up to 80% of eligible costs to upgrade existing DCFC.

There are many other requirements of the program as detailed in the grant guidelines and instructions docs at:
Applications were due on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.


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