Washington State Gets 75 MW Solar Park

You may not have heard of Washington State’s Kittias county. But chances are, if you have some connection to large-scale renewable energy, you will. According to a recent release, the Kittitas County Board of Adjustment has approved a permit for Teanaway Solar Reserve (TSR), 75-MW project capable of powering 45,000 homes.

Located 90 miles east of Seattle, near the city of Cle Elem, the TSR, upon completion, will be among one of the largest photovoltaic solar facilities in the world. The project is expected to will bring more than 200 construction jobs and 35 permanent jobs to the area at “family wage”–a key component for this economically depressed region. The project is also expected to produce a significant revenue stream for the county, generating more than $97 million in purchases of goods and services during construction, and more than $1.5 million annually in property tax revenues to support local schools, roads and hospitals.

Teanaway Solar Reserve

image via Teanaway Solar Reserve

The five-member Kittias County Board of Adjustment voted 4-to-1 in favor of issuing the permit, after formal presentations by the Kittitas County Office of Community Development and the applicant (consisting of a team of developers), and public testimony both in favor and in opposition to the project. Support for TSR was visible, with nearly 200 supporters in attendance.

“This represents a monumental step forward for Kittitas County, and the Upper County in particular,” says Matt Morton, the City Manager of Cle Elum, in a statement. “The integrity, partnership and vision TSR has demonstrated will translate into investment in our communities, jobs for our working families and opportunities for our children. We are very pleased that the entire community continues to recognize the significance, value and potential of this environmentally responsible 21st Century technology here in Kittitas County. TSR thought we were the best location and the best community in the world for its investment, and we wholeheartedly agree!” The project has been supported by the mayor of Cle Elum, the Cle Elum-Roslyn Chamber of Commerce, and the Economic Development Group of Kittitas County.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.