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Port of Seattle considers building a solar farm

The Port of Seattle is considering placing a solar farm on the long stretch of land at Terminal 5. (Google)

The Port of Seattle may convert some of its properties to accommodate renewable energy, which could include a solar farm at the south end of Elliott Bay.

“As the Port of Seattle looks at its industrial real estate portfolio, we continue to find ways of providing uses for properties that are underutilized,” said Peter McGraw with the Port of Seattle. “One of these properties is the CEM site adjacent to Terminal 5, where we’ve recently partnered with UW to look into a potential use as a solar farm.”

Effects of climate change already hitting the Northwest

The Port of Seattle’s recent Real Estate Strategic Plan, published in October, explains options for the Port’s various properties around Seattle. It mentions installing solar panels on things like parking garages.

But it also singles out a stretch of land near Pier 2’s Terminal 5, which is along Harbor Avenue on the south end of Elliott Bay. The land is 1,760 feet by 440 feet. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the site could host up to 11,000 solar panels.

The port hasn’t made any decisions about the Seattle solar farm yet. McGraw stresses all options are just that at this point — options.

“We are still at the preliminary stage as we assess options — and a possible study in the near future — but innovative environmental efforts remain a strong interest in our policy and development goals throughout the region,” McGraw said.

If a solar farm is the option the Port pursues, it recommends partnering with the University of Washington to conduct a study that will determine the feasibility of a solar farm. It would also look into how the energy could be used.

Beyond a Seattle solar farm

But that isn’t the only sustainable energy possibility that the Port is considering. The real estate report also details how the “underutilized waterfront property” could be used for “future marine energy equipment,” as well as wind energy equipment. This could range from turbine blades and towers, to wave energy converters. It could even serve as a place to assemble such materials.

One potential challenge, according to the real estate report, is that the site’s size could be limiting for such large equipment.

Wave energy is an industry many are looking at and is promoted as being more steady than wind or other sustainable energy options. And there are a number of Northwest organizations looking out to sea for the potential of energy production locally. It is also looked to as an option as climate change continues to affect the Northwest, which could potentially make power production difficult on land.


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