Thurston County moves forward with proposed solar photovoltaic energy system at county landfill


Thurston County’s Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) received updates yesterday, October 9, about constructing a proposed solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system on a landfill.

The 25-acre project will be located at the closed landfill at the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center (WARC), 2420 Hogum Bay Road, Lacey.

Climate Mitigation Senior Program Manager Rebecca Harvey presented the updated proposal, saying the location is an open grassy land with a close substation and several surrounding commercial structures with high power demand.

“It is a desirable sight from the utility's perspective. The team calculated that the system would generate an estimated 3 megawatts of solar energy (3.00 MW AC), which is about 375 times an average residential solar installation,” said Harvey.

Private developer EDF Renewables submitted a proposal to develop a solar project on the landfill, and Puget Sound Energy has since awarded the project to them.

Thurston County and EDF Renewables are now negotiating a short-term agreement for initial site investigations and a long-term lease for solar development on the WARC property.

The system’s conceptual design.
The system’s conceptual design.

“There are a number of benefits of a potential landfill solar project,” shared Harvey. “First, the project would provide revenue to the county in the form of lease payments. Second, it will generate clean and reliable electricity, help the county and state advance our climate mitigation goals. Importantly, this type of project repurchases vacant land that has limited development potential,” Harvey stated, adding that the lease term and rent amount will be set through negotiations.

Harvey also said that the construction is projected to aid economic development, creating over 60 to 90 jobs over eight months.

“Adding solar to the electric grid helps reduce costs and price volatility associated with fossil fuels such as natural gas. It places little to no demand on local infrastructure and services such as roads, water, and sewer. Finally, the project would have a low visual profile and quiet operations to preserve the rural and open space character of the area,” Harvey explained.

The anticipated next steps for the project are:

  • County and EDFR develop short-term agreement to demonstrate “site control” and enable initial investigations (as soon as possible)
  • EDFR and PSE negotiate Power Purchase Agreement and interconnection agreement (in progress, execution by March 2024)
  • County and EDFR negotiate long-term lease for solar development on the WARC property (begin as soon as possible)
  • EDFR conducts preliminary site investigation and development activities
    • Surveys, environmental site assessment, wetland delineation, geotechnical studies, civil design and engineering, local permits, environmental permits
  • Construction may begin when lease is finalized.

The project is expected to generate enough power to supply around 375 homes for 25 years, which is the lifetime of the solar equipment.

The Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) met yesterday, October 9, to receive updates on the solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system project.
The Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) met yesterday, October 9, to receive updates on the solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system project.


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