Grays Harbor PUD and Port of Grays Harbor partner on projects to attract future development

December 2018 - Positioning Grays Harbor for economic opportunities of the future, the commissioners of the Port of Grays Harbor and Grays Harbor Public Utility District (PUD) held a joint Commission meeting Tuesday, December 18, 2018, to learn more about future infrastructure projects, including the possibility of attracting transoceanic fiber and the need for additional power capacity at Satsop Business Park. Both concepts are feasibility studies funded by the Grays Harbor County .09 Economic Opportunity Fund.

This was the first joint meeting of the two commissions since the transfer of the Satsop Business Park to local ownership in 1998.

With digital data demands growing around the world, the need for submarine fiber optic cables that connect between continents is also growing. Last year the PUD, Port and County partnered to explore whether Grays Harbor could be a part of this growing telecommunication infrastructure. The study was designed to define the opportunity.

Grays Harbor provides an attractive location for landing submarine fiber optic cable and as existing sites are reaching capacity, Grays Harbor is a viable and competitive US West Coast location landing alternative, according to the feasibility study conducted by Sound and Sea Technology. The consultants presented the Commissions with an explanation of submarine fiber, the need for additional landing sites in North America, a snapshot of the permitting process a project would face and examples of how other communities have marketed to this industry.

“We appreciate the partnership with the PUD on the initial work done to better understand both the business and infrastructure opportunity that transoceanic fiber could bring to Grays Harbor,” said Port of Grays Harbor Commission President Stan Pinnick. “Partnering for the future on these types of opportunities will surely benefit the citizens and businesses of Grays Harbor.”

Located on the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) main power grid, Satsop Business Park’s unique location provides an opportunity for the PUD to increase power capacity to accommodate future large-scale power users. With the support of Grays Harbor County Commissioners, the Port and PUD are partnering in the first step,

“With more than 600 acres of developed land and buildings, expanding power capacity to accommodate future growth at the Park is critical,” explained Port Commissioner Phil Papac. “We look forward to working with the Grays Harbor PUD on this important project so that we can continue to attract investment and employment opportunities to Satsop in the future.”

“For Grays Harbor to succeed, cooperation between business, community and utility interests is critical,” said Grays Harbor PUD Commission President Arie Callaghan. “The two projects that were discussed today were a great example of what happens when a shared vision comes together.”

PUD Commissioners Dave Timmons, Russ Skolrood, and Arie Callaghan joined Port of Grays Harbor Commissioners Stan Pinnick and Phil Papac for a Joint Special Commission meeting on Tuesday to learn about transoceanic cable and a power capacity expansion

project at Satsop.

Alissa Shay