Wallula Energy Resource Center

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On May 3, 2007, Gov. Gregoire signed a Substitute Senate Bill 6001 (SSB 6001) enforcing the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. This proposed plant would have attempted to meet Washington’s stringent new CO2 emissions standard by sequestering its carbon dioxide emissions.[1] Liquified CO2 would be pumped into basalt formations located about one and a half miles below the facility, where the CO2 would interact with the basalt to form calcium carbonate. The overall amount of CO2 sequestered would be approximately 65 percent, according to project spokesman Tim Killian.[2] That would enable the plant to meet the requirements of SSB 6001 that the emissions of a coal plant not exceed those of a natural gas plant.[1]

In September 2007, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) was scheduled to begin injecting 5,000 tons of CO2 gas into basalt formations near Wallula as part of a 12-18 month test of carbon sequestration. The PNNL test is part of the Big Sky Regional Carbon Partnership, one of seven U.S. Department of Energy partnerships studying carbon storage in different regions of the country.[3]

The consortium sponsoring the Wallula Energy Resource Center includes Quigg Energy LLC of Aberdeen, Washington, Sunwest Management Inc. of Salem, Oregon, and Edison Mission Group, a subsidiary of Edison International.[4]

On Oct. 9, 2007, United Power applied for a presite certification permit with the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC). EFSEC expects the full permit application to be submitted in early 2008; the permitting process the state Environmental Protection Agency has not yet been initiated.[5]

On March 25, 2008, the sponsors withdrew its request to the Energy Facity Site Evaluation Council for a special study site on the project. WERC spokesman Tim Killian said that test drilling into deep basalt was delayed due to problems obtaining drilling equipment.[6]

In August 2009, the Sierra Club reported that the project had been abandoned.[7]

As of January 2010, there have been no further actions for a project site study and there have been no updates on either the Site Evaluation Council or Energy Facility website in over a year.[8]

Project Details

Sponsor: Wallula Resource Recovery LLC
Location: Gig Harbor, Washington
Capacity: 915 megawatts (MW) gross, 600 to 700 MW net
Type: IGCC with CO2 sequestration
Projected in service: 2013
Status: Early permitting


Citizen Groups



  1. 1.0 1.1 Christina Russell, “Wallula Coal Plant Proposal Controversial Among Students, Faculty,” Whitman College Pioneer, November 15, 2007.
  2. Warren Cornwall, “Power Plant Would Bury Greenhouse Gas,” Seattle Times, July 5, 2007.
  3. Deirdre Gregg, “Storing CO2 in Rocks May Make Cleaner Power Plants,” Puget Sound Business Journal, September 7, 2007.
  4. Penelope Kern, “IGCC Plant Proposed for Washington State,” Energy Prospects West, June 29, 2007.
  5. “Wallula Energy Resource Center,” Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council website, undated, accessed January 2008.
  6. "Wallula Energy Resource Center withdraws site-study request," Clearing Up, March 31, 2008
  7. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed January 2011
  8. Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council website,accessed January 2010.

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