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New CEEP Projects

Recent direction from the Legislature has guided CEEP to increase focus on installing measures to maximize carbon reduction, projects led by community-based or non-profit organizations and testing and deploying delivery models that can be developed at scale to reach larger service areas of the state. This new directive led the WSU Energy Program to solicit proposals for new CEEP partners that will help to meet these goals. Four new CEEP partners were awarded implementation and development grants in the fall of 2022, and the WSU Energy Program is excited to introduce these new programs.

For The People Community Coalition

A coalition of local groups in the South Whidbey Island region will receive CEEP implementation funding for a community decarbonization campaign called “Kicking Gas.” Efforts will be led by For the People (FTP) which is a community-supported organization 501(c)3, with on-the-ground organizers in Seattle, King County, WA; Portland, Multnomah County, OR; and Whidbey Island, Island County, WA. The primary focus of the project is on installation of ductless heat pumps to replace non-utility heat (propane, oil, or wood) in the South Whidbey Island region.

The Kicking Gas program will provide education, outreach, enrollment, sliding-scale subsidies and financing to ensure the retrofits are affordable. Installation of heat pump hot water heaters and induction stoves may be supported as part of the campaign, but will not be the focus of it. During the first phase of the Kicking Gas campaign, the goal is to convert 100 propane or oil heated homes to efficient ductless heat pump heating – which they estimate will reduce 575 metric tons of CO2 overall.

The program is also offering services to address concerns about electrification in rural communities. The South Whidbey area tends to have frequent electric power outages which makes many people reluctant to give up propane. The FTP coalition plans to offer a Power Outage Preparedness kit that includes, for example, a battery to power an internet router and information about community resources for finding a hot drink or a community warming center during a power outage.

Elevate

The Elevate team (Elevate and Emerald Cities Collaborative) will receive a CEEP Development Grant of $75,000 to design a placed-based decarbonization program to upgrade the Central Puget Sound region’s unsubsidized, affordable rental housing; a program that will consider the unique characteristics of the region and respect community concerns and priorities. Upgrading this housing stock is critical for preserving affordability to meet the region’s housing needs with parallel intentions of minimizing displacement and supporting climate resiliency. Funding will be used to aggregate and assess housing and population data to determine the best program delivery mode, engage with community members and stakeholders to understand localized needs and best outreach strategies, evaluate the clean energy workforce, and develop a work plan that prepares the Elevate team to seamlessly move from program design to program implementation – if additional CEEP funds are available for the next biennium. With a successful program design, this funding will be leveraged to pursue additional funding to create a robust program that includes more comprehensive healthy housing rehabilitation services, making electrification more viable in homes that require additional investment before electrification can be pursued.

Electrify King County

The Electrify King County program (Program) is a new CEEP implementation partner made up of a collaborative partnership that includes King County and the cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island and Redmond (Partners). This pilot program will install high-efficiency air source heat pumps (ASHPs) in King County as a primary decarbonization measure, deployed in two different program tracks: an Eastside Cities (EC) track and a South Urban Unincorporated Areas (UUA) track. All of the Partner jurisdictions are contracting with Spark Northwest for Program deployment. Other partners include the Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) and Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS) with Seattle offices (King County only), as well as Hopelink and Gensco Inc. (Eastside cities only, with Bellevue and Kirkland offices respectively).

This Program aims to accelerate high-efficiency, electrical heat pump installations in the region with a range of incentives and outreach strategies that can be evaluated and scaled in other jurisdictions. Installations will focus on oil- and natural gas-heated homes, though installations will also occur in inefficient electrical-heat homes. Program focus includes near-low- and market-rate rentals, non-U.S. citizen and First Language Not English (FLNE) households. The Program will also fund up to six women or minority HVAC job shadow positions and support women and minority-owned business enterprises (WMBE) through targeted HVAC training(s) and installation recruitment.

Energize Campaign

The Energize Campaign pilot will receive a CEEP development grant to focus on heat pump installations and decarbonization measures in Thurston County. Energize is a partnership between South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity (SPSHFH) and the City of Olympia. The goal of this campaign is to increase community awareness of the benefits of heat pump technology and increase local installations of air-source heat pumps. Following the model of successful solarize campaigns in Thurston County and other regions, this campaign will employ a group-purchase model to achieve economies of scale and reduce upfront cost barriers to heat pump retrofits for all program participants. By utilizing a group purchase model, this campaign will reduce the upfront costs of heat pump installation and simplify the installation process. A key element of this campaign is to provide a pathway for residents with low wealth to participate in the heat pump retrofit by significantly subsidizing the cost of retrofits for income qualified residents. This campaign will also address other common barriers for low- and moderate-income (LMI) participants by integrating fully subsidized weatherization, electrical upgrades, and other critical repairs necessary for heat pump retrofits for all income qualified participants.