News

Vacations delay SEED review

By JUSTINE FREDERIKSEN

PORT ORCHARD — A third-party review of the Port of Bremerton’s Sustainable Energy and Economic Development project is slightly delayed, port CEO Ken Attebery reported at the last meeting of the port’s board of commissioners.

“There were some absences due to August vacations,” Attebery said of the Seattle firm Berk & Associates that the port hired in July to evaluate both SEED’s business plan and its business environment.

And Attebery said while the consultants had returned from their vacations, they were now finding that other parties they needed to meet with were taking their summer vacations.

As a result, he said, the review was not expected to be completed in the six-week timeframe he had hoped for.

“The consultants are back now, though, and I am hoping to have the report in the first week or so of September,” he said.

“If they said it would take six weeks, it should take six weeks,” said Commissioner Larry Stokes, who then asked Attebery when the six weeks were up.

“Just about now,” Attebery said at the Aug. 26 meeting.

In early July, the group of policy and management consultants were retained by the port to examine both the business plan and financial scheme of SEED, partly because of the firm’s experience and knowledge of the clean technology sector.

“They are currently pretty significantly involved in analyzing the clean technology sector for the Puget Sound Regional Council,” said Attebery. “They have a good grasp of the sector, which gives them a couple of legs up (in that realm).”

When the firm selection was announced, Port Commissioner Bill Mahan reiterated his frustration regarding the length of time it has taken to choose a firm since the SEED pause began.

According to the minutes of the June 10 meeting, Mahan requested that a “specific date be given for when the product is to be delivered, and to not allow for an extension beyond 45-60 days.”

Attebery said Monday that the port was “pushing (the firm) to be completed with the work in August.”

In addition to evaluating the SEED project specifically, Attebery said the firm will be asked to analyze the health of clean technology sector in the region and whether it can support the business park.

“We want to know, ‘Is the clean-technology business sector in the Central Puget Sound region dynamic and robust enough that Kitsap can expect to garner a piece of that business activity?’” Attebery said, explaining that the crucial questions to be answered are not only whether SEED is a viable project, but if the environment surrounding it is viable enough to support it.

SEED is a green energy business park and incubator the port hopes to build on a large section of its South Kitsap Industrial Area, although work was effectively halted Feb. 26 when its board of commissioners voted to “pause” until four milestones were achieved — reviewing the project’s business plan and financial scheme, establishing a partnership with a research institution and conducting meetings with private developers.

As for the other requirements, Attebery said port staff has held a “series of meetings with regional developers,” and has entered into cooperative agreements with both the Washington State University Extension and the University of Washington, Tacoma.

Many documents related to the SEED project are available for public review on the port’s Web site (www.portofbremerton.org), including the project’s business case, master plan, and its Sustainable Practices Institute (SPI) Discovery Report and SPI Strategic Plan.

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