Grant helps move Satsop Business Park power expansion plan forward

The Satsop Business Park, owned and managed by the Port of Grays Harbor, has hundreds of thousands of square feet available for potential business investment, and is taking another step in a years-long partnership with the Grays Harbor PUD and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to make sure there’s enough power to accommodate tenants’ needs.

At a Port of Grays Harbor meeting Tuesday, commissioners approved the acceptance of a $150,000 grant through the state Department of Commerce to fund engineering work for a project to greatly expand the park’s power capacity.

“The Port has been working with the Grays Harbor PUD and the Bonneville Power Administration” to grow the power infrastructure since about 2016, said business park manager Alissa Shay.

Currently the park’s power capacity is 8 megawatts, and half of that is in use. In late 2018, the Port Commission, PUD and BPA held a joint meeting at the business park to discuss linking with a nearby BPA substation. In 2019, a county .09 grant for economic development, and money from the Port and PUD paid for a complete feasibility study. The resulting plan would increase the park’s power capacity from 8 megawatts to 48.

“The next step is to complete the detailed engineering necessary to finalize the design and is necessary to move forward with the BPA so we don’t fall out of place in line,” said Shay. With a lot of demand on the BPA for projects, Shay stressed the importance of keeping the ball rolling on the Satsop Business Park project so they don’t fall off the administration’s radar.

Tuesday’s Port Commission action included a commitment of $150,000 in Port funds toward the study. Before the unanimous vote, Commission Phil Papac asked if the completion of the study would put the project in line for approval.

“This is what is needed to stay in line. If we don’t proceed we could fall to the bottom of the list of BPA projects,” said Shay. “This is the detailed engineering that has to be done to keep moving forward. The next step after this is done would be construction.”

Commissioner Tom Quigg asked if the project would be “shovel-ready” at the completion of the study, and Shay said it would. Total cost of the project has been estimated at $3 million to $4 million.