The Kittitas County Planning Commission on Tuesday voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the proposed 69-turbine Vantage Wind Power Project, a $300 million wind farm proposed for 15 miles east of Ellensburg between Vantage Highway and Interstate 90.
In making the motion for recommendation of approval, Planning Commission member Kimberli Green said she had no problems with the project as long as Chicago-based Invenergy Wind North America LLC follows through with all environmental safeguards and mitigations it has committed to.
Green said the county, in a final development agreement, will hold the firm accountable in developing and operating the wind farm, which will use turbines and attached towers that are 389 feet tall from tip of extended blade to the ground.
Invenergy is proposing the project which is about seven miles west of the Columbia River and Vantage and approximately three miles southeast of Puget Sound Energy’s Wild Horse Wind Power Project.
Planning Commission member Larry Fuller said he agrees with Green and was looking forward to the company doing “as good a job as Wild Horse” in restoring the wind farm site after construction.
“I’d like to see the county do more green projects like this,” Fuller said.
He said the wind farm projects can provide substantial benefits to the county as long as they are done “in a conscientious manner.”
The Planning Commission held a joint public hearing on the project March 12 with county commissioners. No opposition to the project was heard at that hearing, though there were questions about the location of some turbines in connection with the required setback from structures.
The Planning Commission’s recommendation now goes to county commissioners who will formally review it and possibly make a final decision on April 15.
Voting to recommend approval were Green, Fuller, Jason Grant, Matt Anderson and David Black. Member Grant Clark abstained because he was unable to attend the March 12 session. He said he listened to tapes of all testimony from that meeting, but some portions of the tape were not clear.
The written comment period is closed to further testimony. The county commissioners’ April 15 session will be to discuss the details of a final development agreement with possible changes.
By Mike Johnston
9 April 2008
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