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Let West Side build new energy

Re: Tri-City Herald article, “A Triple-threat solar farm… in Richland” dated Nov. 11, 2020

We now have a solar farm coming into Benton County, right behind a wind farm. Benton County should have some say in these decisions. The Scout Clean Energy wind farm was initially going to apply for approval with Benton County but now will bypass it and go directly to the state.

Benton County does more than its fair share of producing environmentally-friendly electricity in the state, with Columbia Generating Station (CGS). To produce an equivalent amount of electricity as CGS annually with solar would take about 1.9 million panels on five square miles of land.

For Scout wind, it would take about 665 square miles of turbines. If you include battery back-up, intermittency integration into the grid and disposal costs for spent turbines and panels, the cost of electricity will be at least three to five times what we are paying now.

I suspect most of this new electricity will make its way to California, which imports a huge amount of Northwest power. If Washington needs more electricity, it needs to step up with a fair share of new generation on the west side of the state. If it wants wind and solar, then build them there, not in Benton County.

Craig Brown, Richland