Benton PUD Was ‘Wary’ of Wind Power Last Fall–HH Hills Project
The group opposing the massive Scout Energy wind farm project that would place between 167 and 235 massive wind turbines from Finley up through the Horse Heaven Hills says the Benton PUD was wary of such projects, even six months ago.
The opposition is organized in part via the save-our-ridges.org website. 80 percent of official public comments received by Benton County Commissioners and via a forum with the Washington State Energy Site Evaluation Council are against the project.
Some even described it as "butt ugly," others point out the extensive 'damage' it would do to views, aesthetics of the area; as well as to farmland and bird flocks. Property values would drop, say others, because who wants a view of turbines? Others point to national stories about the issues of disposing of aging wind turbines, which is now becoming an environmental issue for older projects that are aging out.
Last September the Benton PUD issued this report on their view of the growing reliance on wind power in the Pacific Northwest. The report contained this quote:
"We are continuing to sound the alarm regarding the unacceptably high risk of power grid blackouts in the Pacific Northwest being precipitated by overly aggressive clean energy policies and deepening dependence on wind power to replace retiring coal plants."
The report says Benton PUD Commissioners believe large scale wind farm development in the Northwest will result in the following (from the report):
- "Contribute very little to keeping the regional power grid reliable and will not help Benton PUD solve our seasonal energy deficit problems;
- Contribute to the devaluation of hydro-generation assets and put upward pressure on retail rates Benton PUD and other utilities charge our customers;
- Risk underinvestment in needed dispatchable capacity today and future investments in visionary advancements in nuclear energy technology;
- Further sacrifice scenic hillsides, canyons and desert vistas in our region for little if any net environmental benefit."
They believe the best long-term solutions are to keep and continue to utilize hydropower, and transition coal to natural gas, and eventually natural gas to nuclear energy.
It's not secret Gov. Inslee and some legislators and officials are bent on 'green' energy including wind power, instead of focusing on these reliable energy sources. They're the reasons the Pacific Northwest is considered generally more energy stable than many areas of the nation.
To read the report for yourself, click on the button below.