New Step Taken to Turn Tri-Cities into
by Annette Cary
Already 40% of Washington state's power is produced within a 100 mile radius of the Tri-Cities
The Tri-City Development Council has launched a new nonprofit to build on the Tri-Cities leadership in clean energy with the goal of becoming a model for the nation.
The Energy Forward Alliance will use the region's clean energy leadership, skills and knowledge to leverage existing clean energy technologies and develop and deploy now and additional technologies, according to TRIDEC.
"The Tri-Cities and Mid-Columbia region has a long history of helping to solve important, impactful challenges," TRIDEC said in its announcement of the new alliance. "The need now is for a sustainable future -- to not only leave our children and grandchildren with a safe place to raise their own families -- but to capture the jobs and economic benefits that embracing a clean energy future will bring to the region."
An executive director for the alliance will be hired to lead it and strengthen Tri-Cities area collaboration and support among industry, research, education, utilities, the community and Washington state leadership.
The position is being advertised with annual pay of $100,000 to $125,000.
The greater Tri-Cities area already is a clean energy hub with nuclear, solar, hydro and wind production and energy storage.
According to the TRIDEC website, the Tri-Cities already is the energy hub of Washington and the Pacific Northwest with more than 5,000 employees in energy related fields.
The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland is a leader in energy technology development, including smart electric grid applications, energy storage and fuel cell development.
Washington State University Tri-Cities in Richland has launched the Institute for Northwest Energy Futures with a goal of becoming a center recognized globally for its innovation in developing clean energy sources and technology.
Already 40% of Washington state's power is produced within a 100 mile radius of the Tri-Cities and the Tri-Cities has at least 14 companies focused on renewable energy technologies.
Energy Northwest operates the Pacific Northwest's only commercial nuclear power plant just north of Richland and is working to have an X-energy Reactor Co. advanced small nuclear reactor producing power in Eastern Washington by the end of 2030.
The Department of Energy has recently announced an initiative to lease 19,000 unused acres at the Hanford nuclear reservation site just north of Richland for the clean energy production of electricity.
And new wind and solar projects are proposed for Benton County.
The formation of the Energy Forward Alliance comes as state legislation and Gov. Jay Inslee have set an ambitious goal of 100% clean electricity by 2045 for Washington state.
The combination of the Tri-Cities energy leadership, the mix of area resources, state and national emissions reduction goals and historic federal and state investments to be made in clean energy, makes the time right for the new alliance, according to TRIDEC.
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