Klippert introduces bill to maximize local energy production

Measure would create carbonless energy park, provide for water usage

Rep. Brad Klippert has introduced legislation to create a carbonless energy park that he says could help the Tri-Cities' area reach its full potential for energy production.

House Bill 2002 would provide for the restoration and redevelopment of unfinished nuclear power projects within a carbonless energy park. The measure would also provide a tax exemption for the sale and use of machinery and equipment used to generate electricity within carbonless energy parks.

“We have yet to reach the full potential for energy production in the Tri-Cities. We already have the infrastructure in place to support high-tech energy. This measure would be one more step forward to place the Tri-Cities as a leader in the Pacific Northwest in clean energy production through wind, solar, nuclear and even biotechnology,” said Klippert, R-Kennewick.

The bill defines a carbonless energy park as “an unfinished site for a nuclear power project that is located east of the crest of the Cascade mountains and is partially or wholly developed to generate electricity with a production capacity of not less than 10 megawatts.”

Jack Baker, vice president of Energy Business Services and a representative of Energy Northwest, said a carbonless energy park would expand opportunities even beyond nuclear power production.

“We're going to need more energy in the future. We've used all the hydropower we can. It's now a matter of what kind of energy and where the facilities should be built,” said Baker.  “When you think about that land north of Richland — 20 square miles of the Hanford Reservation — we want to build solar facilities there in the future when the price is right, and have options there for future nuclear development. It's ideally suited with sunshine, land and electrical infrastructure.

“We want to obtain the options now on the land and water so that we can plan for those technologies when the market is right,” added Baker, “and I think that will be within the next five to 10 years.”

Klippert said the bill provides for water usage from the Columbia River for cooling of nuclear reactors.

“We have one nuclear reactor in operation and two others partially constructed. This bill specifically addresses the need for water. With three operating nuclear reactors, we could produce as much electricity at Hanford as all the wind generators in the United States combined,” said Klippert. “This would provide carbonless energy as it doesn't emit anything into the atmosphere but steam. The steam would come from water that has been pumped from the Columbia River and has cooled the reactors. The remaining water would be clean and pumped back into the river to preserve existing water rights.”

“If you're going to have concentrated thermal solar or nuclear applications, you need to have water for their operations. Doing it smart now when it doesn't cost a lot of money and preserving options for the future is what it is all about,” said Baker.

Baker noted another focus of the park would be on biomass.

“How could you integrate biomass into transportation energy and aviation fuel? This is also part of how we could do smart things with biomass and build an industry around it,” said Baker. “Plus, a carbonless energy park would create thousands of jobs. We just need a plan right now and Energy Northwest wants to be part of the solution.”

“We have an opportunity for the Tri-Cities to be a leader in the United States with energy production. This bill puts us on that course,” concluded Klippert.

The measure has been referred to the House Technology, Energy and Communications Committee.


Washington State House Republican Communications