Hundreds of jobs from clean energy manufacturer expected on form - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hundreds of jobs from clean energy manufacturer expected on former Hanford land

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BENTON COUNTY, WA. -- You might remember earlier this year when we told you about the Department of Energy signing over a huge chunk of land from the Hanford Site to the Port of Benton and the City of Richland. 

The area we're talking about is not small. It's 1,300 acres of industrial zoned land right on the corner of Stevens Drive and Horn Rapids Road, across the street from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 

The land was just officially transferred in February and the process to get something up and running on the site is moving quickly. Tuesday, the planning officially gets underway when the Port of Benton presents in front of the Richland City Council.

On Tuesday, the port and the city announced they set aside 200 acres for a clean energy manufacturer such as solar or wind power. That's expected to bring as many as 200 jobs, if not more.

We talked to Diahann Howard from the Port of Benton about how this land can affect the job market locally.

"It's not just about one community it's about the entire Tri-Cities region," Diahann said. "And that's the focus is to be a magnet for the region for these large industrial users to come and take a look at this site and the potential for the Tri-Cities community, the excellent work force that we already have in place and that we want to continue to try to retain and continue to try to grow."

Outside of those 200 acres, the rest of the land will be zoned over the next six months with a draft master plan presented in early 2017. Local consulting firm, JUB Engineers Incorporated out of Kennewick will develop the plan with $50,000 of grant funding secured by the port. The city and the port will split the rest of the costs for the project.

No word yet when construction will start. Diahann says the process normally takes a long time but they already have a pretty quick head start.