Permit Submitted for Wind Farm in Northwest US

Zilkha Renewable Energy has submitted detailed plans for a 181.5 MW wind farm to be located along Highway 97, halfway between Cle Elum and Ellensburg, Washington.

Ellensburg, Washington – January 23, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Once complete, the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project (KVWPP), could supply enough electricity to serve about 45,000 homes. Zilkha announced initial plans for the project in April 2002. Over the last nine months, the company has conducted extensive field work and rigorous environmental and engineering studies in advance of filing its comprehensive permit application. Zilkha has also worked with County officials, local residents and landowners, providing descriptions of its plans and general information about wind energy. “Everyone knows the Kittitas Valley is windy,” said Chris Taylor, Zilkha’s project development manager, “and our chosen site is the windiest location in this very windy valley.” Taylor added that, in addition to the clean electric power the state-of-the-art wind turbines will generate, “dozens of new jobs, millions in new tax revenues, and many local purchases will dramatically benefit the local economy.” Zilkha filed its application to build the KVWPP with the Washington Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC). The state agency, based in Olympia, coordinates the evaluation and licensing steps required by federal, state and local regulations for major energy facilities. The KVWPP is the first Renewable Energy project to apply for EFSEC review, an option provided for by state legislation passed during the 2001 session. “Our work around the country has consistently shown that rigorous permit reviews with ample opportunities for public participation earn community support. We recognized that EFSEC would offer that,” Taylor said. “The agency’s well-earned reputation for fairness and extensive direct local participation is sure to be recognized by our neighbors in Kittitas County.” In submitting its application to EFSEC January 13, Zilkha expects the agency to complete its review within 10 to 12 months. Once Zilkha secures its permit from EFSEC, the wind farm, with its 121 turbines and supporting infrastructure, could be operational by the fourth quarter of 2004. EFSEC will soon invite the Kittitas County Board of Commissioners to appoint a representative to participate as a voting member of the Council. Sitting members represent the state departments of Ecology; Fish and Wildlife; Community Trade and Economic Development; Natural Resources; and the Utilities and Transportation Commission. EFSEC is chaired by Jim Luce of Vancouver; he was appointed by Governor Locke in 2001. “Our region needs new, diverse sources of energy,” said Rachel Shimshak, Executive Director of the Renewable Northwest Project, a regional advocacy group based in Portland. “The Northwest Power Planning Council’s recent announcement that the risk of shortages will increase over the next two to three years is a reminder that it’s time to move forward with conservation and environmentally sound projects.” “We are committed to the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project,” Taylor said, “and we look forward to working with EFSEC, Kittitas County, and local citizens as we continue developing a model 21st century wind farm.”
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