What happens in the courthouse...

Unless explicitly noted otherwise, this blog represents my own opinions, not those of any organization (like the Kittitas County Democratic Party) that I might be involved with.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Teanaway Solar Reserve

One issue that awaiting the new county commissioner is the Teanaway Solar Reserve project, located, according to the project's FaceBook page, 4 miles north of Cle Elum. Here's a fairly comprehensive Yakima Herald-Republic story from October 31, 2009.

The project is controversial because the Cle Elum area could really use more jobs, but the project site is in the Teanaway River area, which is currently only very lightly developed.

I regularly do work as a renewable energy consultant, although I don't do professional work on solar photovoltaic (PV) projects. I'm still learning about this project, and I'm sure I'll be writing more about it, but here's some information to start with.

As shown on the map* above, the TSR site receives less solar radiation than the Puget Sound Energy solar site at Wildhorse. PSE has reportedly decided not to expand the Wildhorse solar project, even though the existing solar panels are already connected to the grid, and the Wildhorse site receives a considerably lower amount of annual precipitation than the TSR area.

Some areas in south-central Washington are reasonably promising for solar PV projects, but, really, most of the action in the U.S. is much farther south.

The next step -- due to be taken this summer -- in the process of considering this project is determining whether an environmental impact statement (EIS) will be required. Since the project is being billed as "the largest in the Northwest" (TSR website) and "one of the world's largest" (Yakima Herald-Republic story), it seems pretty obvious that it is unusual, and that strongly suggests that an EIS should be done. Come to think of it, locating a large solar PV project in the forested mountains is probably not something that has ever been done before, anywhere. Clearly special care is needed in considering how to proceed.

*Click here for map source.

1 comment:

  1. I happen to agree with you whole heartedly. my property is butted up agains the TSR and I for one am a bit upset about all of this!

    Why is there NO EIS in place?

    are you aware that there have been basically no studies about the area where this is going? I believe they studied for 5 days, the impact it would have on wild life. and that was it! 5 measly days. The natural migration of the deer and elk will be gone even with a 600 foot buffer between my property and where the panels will first be placed. these animals will NOT use this migration path while it is being constructed. it will take YEARS for them to return after that though Fish and Wildlife have done their own studies and have stated that wildlife migration and homes will be lost forever!