Governor Inslee tours Whitman Co. wind farm

Source: by OTHELLO RICHARDS & • Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ROSALIA, Wash.–Washington State Governor Jay Inslee celebrated the six-month anniversary Monday of the First Wind project on the Palouse.

Wind turbines began operating outside of Rosalia in December 2012. The ceremony marked the geneoration go 150,000 megawatts by the turbines at the Palouse Wind Project.

Inslee joined First Wind and Avista Utilities leaders to check out the new turbines along State Route 195.

First Wind leaders said the Palouse Wind Project is the largest renewable energy facility in Whitman County. It has the capacity to generate enough clean energy to power the homes of about 30,000 Avista customers according to leaders.

“In the spring we have hydro; the water’s running off,” said Avista Corps. CEO Scott Morris. “We are energy rich in the spring, but in the winter time is when it’s cold and people need it the most, the wind tends to blow up here more, so it’s a great project.”

Energy generated by wind turbines gathers at a collector station, is then passed through powerlines, and finally ends up in homes. The wind is harvested on 58 turbines on the Palouse.

The project had a certain amount of opposition and faced some fights in court. Environmental concerns and even complains about health risks were heard. The complaints were dismissed and the project was carried out.

It will provide Whitman County between $700,000 and $800,000 in tax revenue yearly for 25 years.

“It’s beneficial to all of our taxing districts like the school districts, the fire districts, so it’s just been a real boost to our economy,” said Alan Thomson, the Whitman County Planning Director.

The CEO of First Wind said he would love to expland, but they need another customer first.