After five years of incredibly dedicated local opposition in an attempt to preserve one of the truly unique scenic areas of the United States, protect the diverse population of migrating raptors in the area, and protect the quality of life of more than 100 residents that will be forced to live near these monstrosities; a Washington State, non-elected, council overruled the majority of residents wishes as well as their locally elected officials and have recommended building the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project.
The decision was justified in meeting the “needs of the State” while violating the rights of local land use authority. It is the first time this State authority has ever used “pre-emption” as a means to site an energy facility in their 37 years of existence.
The company (Horizon Wind Energy) who stands to collect the tax payer funded booty was recently sold by Goldman-Sachs to Energias de Portugal (EDP). This travesty is occurring in an area of the United States where 60% of the regional power need is currently met with clean, renewable, hydro-electric power generation on the Columbia River. And in fact, the regional power planning authority (Northwest Power and Conservation Council –
http://www.nwcouncil.org/energy/Wind/library/2007-1.htm ) has stated that integration of the 6,000 MWs of planned wind generation capacity (less than the output of one hydro-electric dam – Grand Coulee) will actually decrease the stability of the grid while requiring 100% backup from conventional power sources – most likely very expensive natural gas fired turbines. Adding insult to injury, the miniscule amount of power generated won’t even be consumed in the local area, but transmitted to Western Washington or California (high population areas where State government official elections are decided). The Western Washington citizens in support of this “taking” of local land use authority won’t be forced to look at or hear these wind farms for the next 25 years, but it sure makes them feel good in their mistaken belief that they are saving the planet.
This a gross example of big money buying legislation to create (mandate) a market for a product or service that is not required (Washington State’s I-937 legislation). It is a gross example of money buying political favor and obtaining public funds (subsidies) to supply this artificial market. And finally, it is an example of the lack of personal responsibility of citizens who elected their representatives and vote on legislation to be educated on complex issues/problems confronting a modern society.
What occurred at the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council meeting last night was a microcosm of the injustice and ignorance that is happening all over the world.
Cle Elum, WA