Clallam Among PUDs Reviewing
by Rob Ollikainen
PORT ANGELES -- Public utility districts in Clallam, Grays Harbor, Mason and Pacific counties will meet with Energy Northwest officials on Tuesday to decide where to go with the Radar Ridge wind farm project.
Grays Harbor PUD commissioners confirmed on Monday what Clallam County PUD officials already knew -- Grays Harbor won't pay for more environmental studies for the proposed wind turbine project in southwest Washington near Naselle.
Grays Harbor PUD is a 49 percent partner in the $122 million Energy Northwest project to install up to 32 wind turbines -- each towering 262 feet -- to meet renewable energy requirements that state voters approved in 2007.
Clallam County PUD is a 15 percent partner and has invested $260,000 so far.
General Manager Doug Nass told the three commissioners Monday that the project is in limbo because of soaring permitting costs, which have gone from $3 million to $5 million.
Most of the money is being spent on studies to find out how the turbines will affect the endangered marbled murrelet, a small seabird.
Grays Harbor PUD has already spent $845,250 in pre-construction and decided not to authorize another $1.14 million.
Likewise, the Clallam, Mason and Pacific County PUDs are reconsidering their role.
"Grays Harbor is saying, 'We're not sure if we want to go on,'" Clallam County PUD spokesman Jeff Beaman said Thursday.
"Formal decisions have yet to occur, if they are to occur."
The heads of the PUDs will discuss their options with Energy Northwest officials on Tuesday. Nass will participate via teleconference.
"If the parties choose not to go further, they may choose to get the project sold at the point of development where it is now," Beaman explained.
Since the studies and surveys for Radar Ridge have value, Beaman said Clallam and other PUDs would try to recover their losses should they decide not to participate.
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