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Here's Where Solar, Wind or Other Clean
Energy Projects Could be Built Near Richland

by Annette Cary
Tri-City Herald, September 5, 2023

The Department of Energy released this map showing the location of 19,000 acres at the Hanford nuclear reservation proposed for clean energy generation leases. Department of Energy The Department of Energy has identified the location of land at the Hanford site in Eastern Washington it proposes leasing to generate clean energy and has scheduled a Tri-Cities meeting to release more information on the project.

A Hanford Cleanup to Clean Energy Information Day is set for 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 22 at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

DOE announced plans in July to lease some Department of Energy land for carbon-free electricity production, including about 19,000 acres on the 580-square mile Hanford nuclear reservation.

At the end of August it followed up with a formal request for information from parties interested in leasing Hanford land.

In the request it identified the location as near Richland city limits, with a map showing it north of Horn Rapids Road and Highway 240.

The acreage is carved around operational areas, including the Hanford Patrol Academy and HAMMER Training Center; the Energy Northwest campus for the Columbia Generating Station commercial nuclear power plant; some waste sites, including the 618-10 and 618-11 burial grounds; and the Fast Flux Test Facility, a defunct research nuclear reactor.

The western edge of the acreage is along Route 10, where the LIGO observatory is just to the west, and some of the eastern boundary would be within a half mile of the Columbia River.

The land is proposed to be used in accordance with an executive order from President Biden, "Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability."


The order defines clean energy projects to include solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal, renewably sourced hydrogen, and fossil fuel with capture and storage of carbon dioxide emissions, plus some other methods not suited to the 19,000 Hanford acres such as ocean wave and hydroelectric generation.

The executive order requires federal agencies to achieve 100% carbon free energy as early as 2030 and mandates that federal agencies use their properties for the development of new clean electricity generation.

"As the leading federal agency on clean energy research, development, deployment and demonstration, DOE has both a unique opportunity and a clear responsibility to lead by example and identify creative solutions to achieve the president's mandate," said Ike White, senior adviser for the DOE Office of Environmental Management.

The Hanford nuclear reservation was developed with assets widely spaced across its current 580 square miles, leaving much of the shrub steppe land unused.

The site produced nearly two-thirds of the plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program from World War II through the Cold War. Now more than $2.5 billion a year is spent on environmental cleanup of the site.


The use of the Hanford land for clean energy production is in line with the Tri-Cities vision of becoming a center of excellence in clean-energy generation and storage, DOE said in its request for information related to lease the land.

The Tri-Cities already has more than 5,000 employees in energy related fields, and 40% of Washington state's power is produced within a 100 mile radius of the Tri-Cities, according to the Tri-City Development Council.

Energy Northwest of Richland says it will attend the Sept. 22 information day as it continues to look at the feasibility of siting new solar and other carbon-free energy projects on leased DOE land. It has already talked with Hanford officials about its existing leases and current and planned clean energy generation projects, it said in a statement.

Energy Northwest operates the Pacific Northwest's only commercial nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station, on Hanford site land it leases from DOE.

The Sept. 22 meeting will be a chance for interested parties to ask questions, according to DOE.

DOE said it wants to hear from parties with the expertise to operate 200 megawatt or larger generation plants and to hear tribal and community perspectives on potential collaboration with industry partners to advance clean energy goals.

No final decisions have been made and DOE will continue to communicate with the Tri-Cities communities and tribes on potential proposed land uses, it said.

Many questions about the proposed lease of land remain unanswered, according to the Energy Communities Alliance.

They include when land will be available for development, the process DOE will use to lease the land, the terms of leases, whether environmental reviews have been done, who will purchase the electricity produced and how DOE will ensure the local community and DOE can both benefit from the project.

The information day meeting will be at WSU Tri-Cities Consolidated Information Center, Room 120/120A, at 2770 Crimson Way, Richland.

Participants are asked to register by Sept. 20 at

Annette Cary
Here's Where Solar, Wind or Other Clean Energy Projects Could be Built Near Richland
Tri-City Herald, September 5, 2023

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