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Technical Support for Washington Communities

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Partnering with the Community Engagement Testbed

Federal and state funding mandate investments in clean energy projects that benefit underserved and overburdened communities. To advance the equitable deployment of clean energy, CEI established the Community Engagement Testbed to help analyze and design energy systems that align with community values and achieve specific goals. The Community Engagement Testbed is inspired by the logic model of the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds: a third-party resource to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy. Community Engagement Testbed analysis can support community goals such as:

  • Reducing energy cost burden or generating income
  • Lowering emissions and improving local air quality
  • Keeping power on during electricity outages
  • Sustaining critical energy services during extraordinary power interruptions
  • Estimating costs, benefits, and impacts of clean energy options

CEI has launched three pathways for communities to partner with UW faculty, trainees, and staff to co-develop clean energy strategies and execute projects:

  1. Open-ended exploration and analysis via UW Engineering capstone projects
  2. Microgrid technical analysis
  3. Deep-dive research collaboration

Technical analysis is performed at the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds within its Systems Integration Testbed. The Testbeds user agreement extends data privacy and control of intellectual property to sovereign nations and nonprofit organizations as well as entrepreneurs and companies.

Project Timeline

Prep call with CEI — month 0

  • Explore the scope of your interests in clean energy.
  • Discuss specific data and analysis for an identified federal opportunity.
  • Discuss opportunities to fit a range of possible goals,such as creating a community resiliency hub in case of a Cascadia quake, meeting decarbonization targets, or lowering energy bills for low-income residents in tribal housing.
  • Explore technical and economic opportunities to launch a new tribal enterprise that sells power to a utility.

Preliminary data review — month 1

  • Identify data that is relevant to project goals.
  • Retrieve metering data through online utility accounts.
  • Work with utilities to gather additional data.
  • Create a model dataset using (for example) national data adapted to local conditions.

Project scope statement — months 2-3

  • Community liaisons partner with CEI to outline the basic scope, goals, and deliverables for the project.
  • Work back from a due date for a funding opportunity to set intermediate and final goals.

Project execution — months 3-9

  • Weekly one-hour meetings between community liasons and CEI, with updates on work done,reasons for decisions, and progress toward goals.
  • Project site visit to fulfill partner goals such as a presentation to leadership or a classroom visit (UW CEI has a K-12 education program supported by professional staff and graduate trainees).

Example Projects


  1. Several teams of UW Engineering seniors worked with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Jefferson County Emergency Management, and the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office to explore and develop tailored energy resilience designs.
  2. Washington Clean Energy Testbeds staff scientists analyzed solar-storage microgrid design options with the Yakama Nation Housing Authority.
  3. CEI supported co-designed research by Front and Centered and UW civil engineers to understand air quality and health impacts on communities burdened by traditional energy.
, Technical Support for Washington Communities
UW Engineering senior undergraduates met with Clallam County Sheriff's Office and the Port of Port Angeles at Fairchild Airport to support an energy resiliency project in 2023.


To discuss your project ideas, please contact CEI at: