Thursday, September 26, 2019

Snake River Landing breaks ground on new office building

Ball Ventures founder Allen Ball (left) and Cortney Liddiard, the company's CEO, chat with executives from Okland Construction  Wednesday at the groundbreaking for The Knolls, a new office building scheduled to open in fall 2020.
Snake River Landing continued its southward expansion Wednesday by breaking ground on The Knolls, a contemporary-styled office building at the corner of Snake River Parkway and Event Center Drive.

The three-story, 60,000-square-foot, building will house the corporate headquarters of Ball Ventures, the Idaho Falls-based developer that began Snake River Landing in 2006. The company’s chief development officer, Eric Isom, said other tenants will be announced in the next three months. The building is scheduled to be completed in  fall 2020.

In addition to Snake River Landing, Ball Ventures is a co-developer of Sandcreek Commons, the shopping center in Ammon. Overall, the company has projects in nine or 10 states totaling about 3.3 million square feet, Isom said.

Like the Waterfront, a smaller event center that opened in 2017, the Knolls represents a departure from the “old Main Street” style of the original Snake River Landing buildings, Isom said. It comes at the end of a summer that saw a large expansion of the nearby Falls apartment complex. A site plan for the nearby Idaho Falls Events Center has been filed with the city’s building department (link here).

Isom said the 450-acre master-planned development is about where they projected it to be when they first broke ground. “We lost four years during the recession, but I think we’re where we thought we would be because of the growth in the last few years,” he said. The Idaho Falls area has seen a dramatic in-migration of people from other states, creating one of the hotter real estate markets in the United States.

“Housing and rooftops drive everything else,” Isom said. “There’s been a lot of positive press about the quality of life here.”

Businesses involved in the design and construction of the Knolls include Dixon and Associates, Horrocks Engineers, Bradley Engineering, HK Contractors, and Okland Construction. Brent Wilson of Thornton Oliver Keller is the listing agent.




Sunday, September 22, 2019

Costco site plan undergoes second review by city

A screenshot of the first page of the latest Costco site plan
This isn’t much, but since the interest in Costco is so intense I figured it was important to report that the plan for the site at 2495 Lincoln Road has gone through its second review with the city of Idaho Falls Building Department.

This is at the northwestern corner of Lincoln and Hitt, although you can’t really call it a corner because there is a roundabout there. If you’d like to see the documents and PDFs, this is the link: https://trakit.idahofallsidaho.gov/etrakit3/Search/project.aspx.

The 150,000-square-foot store is expected to open in August 2020. The facility will also include a 15-30 pump fueling station.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

INL engineer to talk about NASA missions at chamber CEO Series program

Kelly Lively, manager of INL's Radioisotope Power Systems department
The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce will host Kelly Lively of Idaho National Laboratory as its featured speaker Sept. 26, part of its monthly CEO Series programs.

Lively is the manager of INL's Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) department and also a project manager for NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission. She manages a team of engineers and technicians that manufactures, fuels, tests and delivers radioisotope thermo-electric generator (RTG) systems for NASA's deep space exploration missions. RTG systems convert the heat generated by the decay of plutonium oxide fuel into electrical energy.

Lively will share information on the technology and the INL processes that enable these scientific missions. She will also provide the latest information on three space missions in which INL has had hand: New Horizons (which passed Pluto in 2015 and is now exploring the Kuiper Belt at the edge of the Solar System), the Mars Science Laboratory (which includes the Curiosity Rover), and the Mars 2020 Rover (yet to be named).

Lively started working at Naval Reactors Facility 1985 as a human resources administrative assistant. She bounced around the lab, working in word processing and security, and eventually decided to pursue an engineering degree. "As I typed procedures for the engineering staff, I thought, 'If they can do this, I can do this,'" she told The Oklahoman in 2013. She graduated with a bachelor's in engineering from Idaho State University in 1998.

The event is open to the community and will be begin at 3 p.m. at the Waterfront at Snake River Landing, 1220 Event Center Drive. Questions from audience members will be taken. There is no charge for the event, but space is limited. Please RSVP to programs@idahofallschamber.com to reserve a spot.

Snake River Landing to break ground on new office building

The site for a new 60,000-square-foot office building at Snake River Landing, at the corner of Snake River Parkway and Event Center Drive
Snake River Landing is holding a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. for a new three-story office building planned for Snake River Parkway and Event Center Drive. The 60,000-square-foot office building, located at the heart of the 450-acre Snake River Landing multi-use development, is scheduled to be finished in late summer of 2020.

The new office building is owned by an affiliate of Snake River Landing. The following businesses are involved in the design and construction: Dixon and Associates, Horrocks Engineers, HK Contractors, Okland Construction.

The new office building is the latest growth development for Snake River Landing, which in July announced the expansion of Love at First Bite and is also seeing a new addition to The Falls Apartments, with developer Kartchner Inc. adding 96 units addition to the original 228-unit apartment complex that opened in 2017. Idahoan Foods is in the process of remodeling 900 Pier View Drive in Snake River Landing for its new corporate headquarters. Construction on the new Event Center Drive roadway is wrapping up this fall, and construction on the new Heritage Park continues with the city of Idaho Falls.

“Many companies are expanding or seeking to locate in Idaho Falls, and we are ready to help them find the kind of space and experience they seek,” said Eric Isom, Snake River Landing’s chief development officer. “There are new residential options here, commercial space under construction and available for pre-lease, and a growing number of people who are choosing to live and work within this community. It’s a pleasure to see companies expand and grow here.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

INL to collaborate with 3 commercial utilities on hydrogen production from nuclear plants

The Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station near Toledo, Ohio, will be the first site to produce commercial quantities of hydrogen using nuclear energy. (Photo by Bill Rayburn, Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station)
Three commercial electric utilities and Idaho National Laboratory have been chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy for projects intended to improve the long-term economic competitiveness of the nuclear power industry.

The utility participants are FirstEnergy Solutions of Akron, Ohio; Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis-based energy company that owns and operates two nuclear plants in Minnesota; and Arizona Public Service (APS), a Phoenix-based utility that operates Palo Verde Generating Station.

The three projects are involved in DOE’s effort to support development and demonstration of commercial applications that pair nuclear energy with a hybrid, non-electric application to produce hydrogen. DOE announcement for these projects and others can be found on this link: https://www.energy.gov/ne/articles/us-department-energy-awards-152-million-advanced-nuclear-technology-0.

“These first-of-a-kind projects represent significant advances for improving the long-term economic competitiveness of the light water reactor industry,” said Bruce Hallbert, director of DOE’s Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program, based at INL. “They will enable the production of commodities such as hydrogen in addition to electricity from commercial nuclear power plants. These projects also accelerate the transition to a national hydrogen economy by contributing to the use of hydrogen as a storage medium for production of electricity, as a zero-emitting transportation fuel, or as a replacement for industrial processes that currently use carbon-emitting sources in hydrogen production.”

The two-year project led by FirstEnergy Solutions will initially demonstrate and deploy a 1- to 3-MWe low-temperature electrolysis unit to produce commercial quantities of hydrogen. The first site, planned for 2020, is FirstEnergy Solution’s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station near Toledo, Ohio. The project will demonstrate how hydrogen from commercial nuclear operations can be used to produce “green” products and commodities in significant quantities for domestic use and for export to international markets where green and low-carbon attributes are incentivized. Hydrogen from Davis-Besse may initially be used to supply public transportation fleets in Ohio, in new direct iron reduction plants being constructed to produce steel products, or for other commercial products now under investigation.

“Thanks to the support provided to our Ohio nuclear plants by the state of Ohio, we are able to work with DOE to explore new methods of keeping nuclear power plants competitive in any economic environment," said Raymond Lieb, senior vice president of Fleet Engineering for FirstEnergy Solutions. "This is a great opportunity to show that hydrogen can be effectively generated in a carbon-free and safe manner.”

The second project, planned for 2021, will occur at an Xcel Energy nuclear site and employ hydrogen production technologies that might be used to reduce the environmental impact of industrial processes or in the transportation sector. Redirecting nuclear energy from electricity to hydrogen production could help balance the electrical grid with the increasing amount of wind and solar energy on the system. The company has also been testing flexible operations at its nuclear plants, but hydrogen could create an entirely new value stream. Xcel Energy plans to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent in the Upper Midwest by 2030 (from 2005 levels) and is pursuing a vision to provide electricity from 100 percent carbon-free sources by 2050.

”We’ve challenged our nuclear employees to find innovative ways to operate more efficiently, use technology, pursue new ideas and reduce costs to make our plants more valuable for our customers,” said Tim O’Connor, chief nuclear officer, Xcel Energy. “Projects like this hydrogen demonstration will ensure our nuclear plants continue to help Xcel Energy provide reliable, affordable carbon-free electricity for the Upper Midwest.”

The third project, planned for 2020-2022, will occur at APS’ Palo Verde Generating Station near Phoenix, Arizona. Hydrogen from the plant may be used as energy storage for use in reverse-operable electrolysis or peaking gas turbines during times of the day when photovoltaic solar energy sources are unavailable and energy reserves in the Southwest are low -- also to support a growing hydrogen transportation fuel market. Experience from this pilot project will offer valuable insights into methods for flexible transitions between electricity and hydrogen generation missions in solar-dominated electricity markets and demonstrate how hydrogen may be used as energy storage to provide electricity during operating periods when solar is not available.

“This project allows us to explore a new form of energy storage while continuing to provide customers what they want – clean, affordable and reliable electricity,” said Bob Bement, APS's executive vice president and chief nuclear officer.

Hallbert said, “These demonstration projects will confirm how commercial nuclear utilities can produce — without carbon emissions — essential products, like hydrogen, at a scale needed by industry. Nuclear energy can help meet the significant demand for hydrogen and other synthesized products while helping industrial users reduce their own carbon footprints.”