Northwest Innovation Works isn’t the only company to lease land from the Port of Tacoma in hopes of taking advantage of the availability of relatively inexpensive natural gas from the Great Plains.
Puget Sound Energy also has plans for the Tacoma Tideflats: a kind of liquified natural gas “filling station” for the Puget Sound region. The $275 million project will bring in natural gas via a pipeline and compress and refrigerate it to create LNG.
PSE is further along than Northwest Innovation Works, having already been through several rounds of public comment and process. The plant reached an important milestone recently when the city of Tacoma issued a shoreline permit for it. Construction could begin soon.
The PSE facility’s major customer will be Alaska trailer ship company TOTE Maritime. TOTE operates two large roll-on, roll-off trailer ships that haul trailers and vehicles between Tacoma and Anchorage. Those ships are being converted from diesel to LNG propulsion.
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LNG will dramatically cut emissions from the two ships. TOTE’s Tacoma terminal will be adjacent to the PSE facility at East 11th Street and Alexander Avenue. The PSE facility will also serve other customers such as trucking lines and railroads that may opt to operate their trucks and locomotives on LNG.
PSE says about 150 workers will be involved in the LNG facility’s construction over the three-year construction period. When the plant is complete, about 18 workers will be employed there.
More than 100 LNG facilities operate in the U.S., the company said. One is a storage facility in Gig Harbor, which the company has operated for more than 10 years.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663