Neoen, a French independent renewable energy project developer, on Saturday began site studies for what would be the largest utility scale photovoltaic power plant in Washington state.
Neoen plans to build a 20-megawatt photovoltaic solar project in Benton County on land adjacent to the Hanford site. Project completion is scheduled for 2019 and Neoen is actively seeking potential customers for the solar electricity.
“Neoen is very proud to be investing in a utility-scale solar project in Washington state. The project will be a competitive source of renewable energy, especially given the downward trend in the cost of solar technology. It is also the first step in Neoen’s long-term strategy in the U.S.,” said Romain Desrousseaux, Neoen Deputy CEO.
Neoen and Energy Northwest signed a lease option agreement on April 18 to lease up to 150 acres of the 300 acre site.
The Tri-City Development Council has been working with Neoen since 2014. The Tri-Cities is well-suited for solar energy because it has the available land, the infrastructure to support power projects and abundant sunshine. TRIDEC recently transferred the property to Energy Northwest, which is supporting the project’s development.
“This is exactly the type of project we envisioned when we began our effort to transfer Department of Energy land to the community for economic development,” said Carl Adrian, President and CEO of TRIDEC.
“The project further solidifies the Tri-Cities’ position as the energy hub for Washington state and confirms that the decision to transfer the land from DOE was correct.
“A huge thank you to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and former Congressman Doc Hastings, for recognizing the economic potential the transferred land presents to the Tri-Cities,” Adrian added.
Neoen hired Energy Northwest, a generator of more than 1,300 megawatts of carbon-free
electricity for the region, to provide consulting and marketing support.
The geotechnical work that began this weekend will help determine the most viable site for the project.
Background on Land Transfer
On Sept. 30, 2015, the Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office transferred 1,641 acres of the Hanford site to TRIDEC and the Tri-Cities community for economic development. The date for transfer was established in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act
The TRIDEC-led land conveyance request began in 2010. The City of Richland, Port of Benton and Benton County worked closely with TRIDEC and DOE RL to meet all the requirements for transferring the property.
By the end of first quarter 2016, 1,341 acres had been further transferred at no cost (other than title transfer costs) to the City of Richland and Port of Benton for future economic development with a focus on growing the energy sector of the Tri-Cities’ economy.
TRIDEC transferred the remaining 300 acres to Energy Northwest with the understanding that approximately 100 of those acres would be made available for a solar energy project (view: Neoen Site Map). This project had been in negotiation for nearly two full years.
Founded in 2008, Neoen is an independent supplier of electricity from renewable energy (solar, wind and biomass) and is set to be the first French supplier to reach 1,000 MW of installed power. Neoen has a long term view development strategy and today Neoen operates in France, Australia, El Salvador, Mexico, Zambia, Mozambique, Jordan, Jamaica, Portugal and Ireland. Neoen’s main shareholders are Impala SAS (owned by Jacques Veyrat), the fund Capénergie II (managed by Omnes Capital) and BpiFrance.
Neoen aims to supply power in excess of 3,000MW by 2020, and is opening an office in Washington state to address the U.S. market.
Learn more at www.neoen.com