Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Washington
The proposed Desert Claim Wind Power Project does not have to seek approval from the Kittitas County government, a state council decided Tuesday. By a vote of 5-1, the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council decided the project does not have to file an application with the county because of the precedent set by an earlier EFSEC decision regarding the separate Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project, according to council chairman Jim Luce.
Gov. Chris Gregoire, starting Wednesday, has 60 days to make a final decision on whether to approve the 65-turbine Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project, a wind farm proposed for 12 miles northwest of Ellensburg. The governor's office at 3 p.m. Wednesday received formal documents from the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council that recommended approval of the $150 million project planned by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy for ridge tops on both sides of state Highway 97.
UPC Wind filed a site certification application with the Oregon Energy and Facility Siting Council (EFSC) Wednesday to build a 60- megawatt wind farm on Sevenmile Hill west of The Dalles.
Kittitas County commissioners believe a state council erred on March 27 in recommending approval of the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project and claims the action violates state law by overruling the county's previous denial of the 65-turbine project. Commissioners on Monday directed Deputy Prosecutor Jim Hurson to file a petition with the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council calling on the seven-member council to reconsider its 6-1 vote on the wind farm planned for 12 miles northwest of Ellensburg on ridges on both sides of U.S. Highway 97.
Fifty additional wind turbines will join the 78 now being built in northeast Columbia County. The new project will be known as Marengo Project Phase II, and construction may begin in June, Columbia County Planner Clark Posey said this morning. Like the Marengo I project, the new phase will be built by Blue Sky Wind LLC, an affiliate of Renewable Energy Systems, Ltd. The 90 megawatts of electricity anticipated from Phase II will be transmitted over lines owned by PacifiCorp, Posey said. Puget Sound Energy owns 83 turbines capable of generating150 megawatts of electricity. That project, the Hopkins Ridge Project, was completed at the end of 2005. Renewable Energy Systems also developed the Hopkins Ridge Project. When the Marengo II project is complete, there will be 211 wind turbines in Columbia County. A public information meeting is set for 7 p.m. April 11 at the Seneca Activity Center, Posey said.
A state agency has recommended approval for construction of a wind farm 12 miles northwest of Ellensburg, overriding earlier rejections made by county officials. The decision of the state's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council brings Horizon Wind Energy, the project's developer, closer to victory in a five-year battle with Kittitas County citizens and officials who argue the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project has negative environmental and visual impacts on neighboring residential areas.
Dying is easy, they say in show business. Comedy is hard. Try reconfiguring an electricity generation and transmission system based largely on hydropower so as to accommodate wind power. Now that's hard.
Wind energy will play a growing role in meeting the rising power needs of the Northwest, but it isn't controllable and it needs total backup by traditional sources such as hydroelectric dams, according to a report released Wednesday by energy specialists. The six-month study looked at how to integrate wind power into the region's power system. While wind energy sounds attractive, it can be fickle, the specialists said. Sometimes it blows, sometimes it doesn't. And while wind is free, they said getting its energy from a rural wind farm to an urban wall socket isn't.
The state agency that decides on large, energy-producing projects statewide will come to Ellensburg on March 27 take a vote on the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project, and then send this in the form of a recommended order to Gov. Chris Gregoire who must make the final decision within 60 days. The seven-member state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, met Tuesday in Olympia and set the evening of March 27 at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds as the date it will vote on adopting the order, according to Allen Fiksdal, EFSEC manager. He said EFSEC's administrative law judge, attorney Adam Torem, is in the process of finalizing the order upon which EFSEC members will vote. "Right now the council is set on the date - March 27 - we now have to confirm the time and the location," Fiksdal said.
A state agency on Tuesday agreed it needed more time to work on a document that outlines a proposed decision on the controversial Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project and declared it would likely meet in Ellensburg in the first two weeks of March to take a vote on the document. The state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, meeting in Olympia, agreed more time was needed to complete a draft of a proposed order, according to EFSEC Manager Allen Fiksdal. That order, voted upon at the Ellensburg meeting, will be its recommendation to Gov. Chris Gregoire on the 65-turbine wind farm proposed for 12 miles northwest of Ellensburg on both sides of U.S. Highway 97. The state council earlier met in closed-door sessions in Olympia on Jan. 25, Dec. 5, 6 and 12 in attempts to form a recommendation on the wind farm proposed by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy. Kittitas County officials last year agreed to reject the project. Horizon, the county and others presented their case before EFSEC in several hearings in September. Horizon is not only asking EFSEC to approve the project, but to pre-empt or lay aside the county’s decision to reject it. The company wants EFSEC to make its own decision on whether the project is compatible with county land-use policies, rules and zoning. Once the governor receives the recommendation, Gregoire has 60 days to make the final decision.
A wind farm developer wants to explore the potential for power generation in the hills north of Zillah. Columbia Energy Partners of Vancouver, Wash., wants to build two meteorological towers in the Rattlesnake Hills area to determine if there’s enough wind to generate electricity. While large-scale wind farms are already established in Klickitat and Kittitas counties, Yakima County has yet to see a turbine.
The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC), an Olympia, Wash.-based licensing agency for nonhydro energy projects, has issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) for the proposed Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project. All wind farm requests in Washington state must be approved by the EFSEC before construction can begin. Sagebrush Power Partners LLC, a subsidiary of Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy, is proposing the Kittitas Wind Power Project. According to the EFSEC, Sagebrush is requesting to build a 195 MW wind farm comprising of 65 turbines. The project would be located on approximately 108 acres of land on either side of Highway 97 - halfway between Ellensburg and Cle Elum, Wash.
A state agency told developers of the Desert Claim wind farm proposal on Tuesday they have 90 days to work with Kittitas County officials to bring their project into compliance with county land-use rules. Members of the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, voted unanimously Tuesday to declare the 90-turbine project as inconsistent with the county’s comprehensive land-use plan and zoning code. Adam Torem, EFSEC’s administrative law judge, at the conclusion of a public hearing in Ellensburg, said the company seeking the project, French-owned EnXco Inc., acknowledged the proposal for north of Ellensburg has not been approved by the county.
The state energy council will conduct a public hearing Jan. 30 on the 90-turbine Desert Claim Wind Power Project proposed north of Ellensburg and likely will face much more controversy on the decision it faces after the hearing. The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council has set a public hearing for 7 p.m. in the Home Arts Building at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds. The hearing is limited to determining if the project is consistent with county land-use rules. After the hearing, the wind power company, French-owned EnXco Inc., wants the EFSEC to agree to not require it to go through the county’s wind farm review process, an EFSEC requirement to make the project consistent with county land-use rules. David Steeb, Desert Claim project director, said EnXco wants the state council to pre-empt the county’s involvement in the EFSEC process and make its own decision on whether the project is consistent with county land-use rules. Steeb said the company doesn’t want to go through another round of public hearings before the county Planning Commission and county commissioners as part of the EFSEC process. “We don’t see the project going through the county process again,” said Steeb. “We went through that process, and they turned us down. We don’t see repeating it.”
Construction is proceeding on the 205 megawatt (MW) White Creek Wind Project in Klickitat County, Washington, due to the successful completion of financing. All local and state permits have been issued for the windfarm, which is located on 9,500 acres of ranchland, 21 miles east of Goldendale. Operation is expected in late 2007 or early 2008.
Cowlitz PUD commissioners Wednesday OK’d a multiparty deal ensuring that a $361 million central Washington wind farm, large enough to supply 38,000 homes with electricity, will be financed with private money. Three years in the making and involving lawyers from coast-to-coast, the groundbreaking transaction will mean an investment group formed by Prudential Insurance and Lehman Brothers will own a wind farm conceived by the PUD and three other utilities. The investors aren’t interested in wind turbines, but they are interested in federal tax deductions available to private investors in environmentally friendly wind farms, said Alan Dashen, a financial consultant hired by the PUD to arrange the deal.
A state agency begins today in Olympia to come up with a decision on the controversial Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project, a wind farm proposed for 12 miles northwest of Ellensburg. The state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, is set to meet today and Wednesday in efforts to form a recommendation to Gov. Chris Gregoire on the 65-turbine project, according to Irina Makarow, EFSEC’s siting manager. The governor, after receiving the recommendation, has 60 days to make a final decision: approve the recommendation, deny it or send the issue back to EFSEC for reconsideration.
Kittitas County commissioners may change the county’s wind farm ordinance next year after county staff examines standards that have been common to wind farm projects proposed so far in the county. Commissioners last week, during their update of the county comprehensive plan, agreed to have the county Community Development Services Department do the review and bring recommendations to the county commissioners.
Desert Claim Wind Power LLC, which wants to build a wind farm in Eastern Washington, is applying to a state panel after losing an appeal in a county superior court, the company said Thursday. Kittitas County Superior Court upheld Kittitas County's decision to deny a permit for Desert Claim to build a 180-megawatt wind farm north of Ellensburg. Desert Claim is a wholly owned subsidiary of enXco Inc., a wind developer based in North Palm Springs, Calif.
What EnXco Inc. in 2005 said it would do after Kittitas County rejected its wind farm north of Ellensburg it did Monday: the wind power development company filed a downsized wind farm proposal with the state in hopes to get better treatment and possible approval.