Puget Sound Energy has served the people of the Pacific Northwest for more than 135 years. We are proud to serve the Tacoma area’s energy needs and be part of this community.
Just over four years ago, we began planning for a liquefied natural gas facility at the Port of Tacoma. The LNG project would serve two purposes: provide a more environmentally friendly fuel for ships at the port and ensure an adequate supply of natural gas for homes in the area during the coldest days.
Most ships today use bunker fuel, which spreads harmful particulates and carbon dioxide into the air in Tacoma. TOTE Maritime does business primarily in U.S. waters between Alaska and Washington and is subject to different clean air requirements than are international shippers.
To ensure compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s new air emission standards and improve air quality in Tacoma, TOTE is transitioning its fleet to LNG, the cleanest alternative to bunker fuel. By switching, TOTE will reduce harmful particulates by more than 90 percent.
LNG will not only improve air quality but will create new jobs and keep the family-wage maritime and industry jobs in our community. We understand not everyone shares our enthusiasm for the project. But a vigorous debate by engaged citizens is a good thing. So is basing any opinions or decisions on facts.
We have shown, and will continue to demonstrate, that we’re ready to answer questions and concerns.
Safety is not something being taken lightly — either by PSE or governmental permitting agencies. LNG facilities must follow strict regulations. As was reported in the Sept. 22 TNT, safety studies show that any incidents that happen on the site will be confined to the site, including the rare possibility of a fire.
As a liquid, natural gas is not flammable or explosive, unlike other fuel sources. More than 16 federal, state and local agencies are involved in the approval process for the facility, and all must give the facility a “green light” in order to move forward.
In addition, PSE has been safely operating an LNG storage facility in Gig Harbor for more than a decade. We have experience with LNG, and we would not build anything that could jeopardize the safety of the communities we serve.
The LNG facility will put Tacoma on the map as a clean fuel transportation hub. Around the world, LNG is already a preferred way to power cargo and container ships. It’s part of the future of energy.
We stand ready to make sure our region can offer maritime industries what they need. And when it’s needed most on cold winter days, we can transform LNG back into natural gas to heat the homes and businesses of our customers.
LNG is better for the environment than other conventional fuels. The switch to LNG will help improve air quality and reduce health risks by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 30 percent and will dramatically reduce dangerous particulate emissions. In the unlikely event of a spill into the water, LNG has no lasting effects on marine life — unlike bunker fuel.
Maritime and transportation jobs have long been part of the economic backbone of the South Sound. Our facility also means jobs — good paying, family-wage union jobs for hundreds of workers who will be needed to build and run the facility.
If you would like access to additional information about the project, especially its safety, please check out our tacomacleanlng.com website.
Jim Hogan has been the project manager of the Puget Sound Energy Tacoma LNG Project since 2012. He has 25 years of engineering and project management in the United States and Europe. He has a degree in mechanical engineering from Washington State University.