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Clean energy project underway in Richland

Kelly Rae, Public Affairs, 509-372-5376            
Carla Martinez, Public Affairs, 509-372-5156

RICHLAND, Wash. – Construction is underway on a new utility-scale solar and battery project. The Horn Rapids Solar, Storage & Training Project, located on Horn Rapids Road, is on schedule to be in commercial operation this summer.  

The Horn Rapids project will be a 4-megawatt direct current, 20-acre solar generating array of photovoltaic panels that will provide enough energy to power 600 Richland homes combined with a 1-MW battery energy storage system that can provide energy to 150 homes for four hours. 

The Horn Rapids project is the newest generation development for Energy Northwest, in partnership with Potelco Inc., Tucci Energy Services, Department of Commerce, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the City of Richland.  

Solar and battery storage, when paired together, offer flexibility and a more reliable energy source. The large-scale battery will help smooth the solar output and help meet peak energy demand. 
Governor Inslee’s Clean Energy Transformation Act set the state on a path to 100% clean electricity by 2045. Energy Northwest is evaluating all carbon-free energy options to help the region meet the resource adequacy challenges in a carbon-constrained world.

 “Our mission is to provide energy solutions that help the northwest customers,” said Greg Cullen, Energy Northwest’s Energy Services & Development general manager. “We are uniquely positioned, as a not-for-profit joint operating agency, to help meet our state’s clean energy goals with projects like these.” 

Potelco, Inc. near Seattle, will build the Tucci Energy Services’ owned 4-MW direct current solar portion of the project and Energy Northwest will own and operate the co-located battery storage system. Once complete, the City of Richland will utilize the energy and storage for their customers. 

“The ability to purchase solar-generated power brings Richland Energy Services closer to meeting Washington State’s renewable and carbon-free energy targets,” said Clint Whitney, City of Richland Energy Services Director. “Our customers benefit from the source of clean energy and the positive impact this project will have on Richland’s economy.”

Adjacent to the project, a training program will be established for solar and battery storage technicians. Training will cover plant construction, operations, maintenance, and safety and hazard prevention. Hundreds of workers from throughout the United States are expected to train annually in the program bringing additional training dollars into the Tri-Cities.

“This project demonstrates that there doesn’t have to be a tradeoff between the economy and the environment,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “The transformation to a clean energy economy will provide skilled, family-wage jobs and exciting new business opportunities that will strengthen communities for the next generation.”

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland will monitor and analyze data from the project to evaluate the financial benefits of the battery and develop improved battery designs and advanced tools for forecasting load, price, and solar in-feed.

In 2017, as part of its Clean Energy Fund, the state Department of Commerce granted up to $3 million in matching funds to develop the project. Energy Northwest's portion of the project is $6.5 million. 

About Energy Northwest       
Energy Northwest owns and operates a diverse mix of 100% clean electricity generating resources: hydro, solar and wind projects, and the third-largest provider of electricity in Washington – the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power facility. These projects provide carbon-free electricity at the cost of generation – enough clean, cost-effective and reliable energy to power more than a million homes each year. As an independent joint operating agency of Washington state, Energy Northwest comprises 27 public power member utilities from across the state serving more than 1.5 million customers. The agency continually explores new generation projects to meet its members’ needs. 

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