The Tri-Cities could soon be home to the largest utility-scale solar power project in Washington. A French company will develop the project on land that used to be part of the Hanford nuclear reservation.
The company, Neoen, is hoping to build a 20-megawatt solar project in the desert just north of Richland.
Right now, the company is inspecting the land to find the best place for the installation. The project will be built on unused Hanford land that the Department of Energy transferred in 2015 to the Tri-City Development Council, known as TRIDEC. This project will be built on about 100 acres.
Traci Jao, a director of communications and member services for TRIDEC, said this solar project will solidify the Tri-Cities as Washington’s energy hub.
“We know energy. This is where the energy research is. This is where the demonstration projects are. It helps with recruiting and retaining those energy companies,” Jao said.
This project is expected to be completed in 2019.
Energy Northwest, which operates the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant, has a 38.7-kilowatt demonstration solar project 10 miles north of Richland. Last year, Energy Northwest also announced its plans to develop a 4-megawatt solar power generating and battery storage system.
Oregon is reviewing a large-scale solar utility project outside of Boardman that would generate 75 megawatts.