Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Washington’s oldest energy utility, has begun construction of a $310 million Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility at the Port of Tacoma. It will provide a clean and cost-effective gas supply resource for PSE's natural gas customers and a cleaner fuel alternative for maritime vessels owned by TOTE and other local employers. The project is expected to be completed and fully operational by late 2020.
PSE’s LNG facility will serve our domestic natural gas customers and provide fuel for ships traveling between Tacoma and Alaska.
PSE has operated an LNG facility in Gig Harbor for more than a decade. The Tacoma facility will be operated in the same responsible way and built in accordance with the strictest federal guidelines.
LNG is simply the liquid form of the natural gas used in millions of homes and vehicles. When cooled, natural gas is reduced to a liquid that is one six-hundredth the volume, making it easier to store and transport. It is not explosive or flammable in its liquid state. When warmed, it returns to its gaseous state, and the same safe handling procedures are used as with natural gas. More than 100 LNG production, storage and fueling facilities currently operate in the United States.
Historically, many maritime vessels have used polluting bunker fuel or diesel. That’s all changing. Switching from diesel to LNG reduces greenhouse gases more than 30 percent and dramatically reduces dangerous particulate emissions. This helps improve air quality and reduce health risks, and will help local employers like TOTE comply with new, stricter low-sulfur emission standards. Use of LNG also greatly minimizes the potential for harmful fuel spills that could damage the waters of Commencement Bay and Puget Sound.
The LNG facility is a vital part of fulfilling our obligation to serve customers natural gas on the coldest days of the year, while keeping annual costs to customers lower than if we had to build a conventional year-round pipeline. The facility will help us continue to provide dependable, affordable natural gas service to our residential and commercial customers in the south sound during periods of peak demand.
The Tacoma LNG Facility will provide significant economic benefits to Tacoma, Pierce County and the entire South Sound region. In addition to helping local employers like TOTE remain competitive and maintain hundreds of family-wage jobs, the LNG facility will create an estimated at least 250 construction jobs and 18 permanent jobs. The economic activity from the project will create the need for over 125 other permanent jobs in the region as well as 300 jobs during construction. It will also generate additional tax revenues for state and local governments, helping fund important public services.