Local residents this year won’t see wind farm towers going into the sky 12 miles northwest of Ellensburg, although site preparation work on the ground for the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project may start this fall.
Horizon Wind Energy on Jan. 13 told state officials that major construction on the $200-$250 million, 65-turbine project won’t happen this year because extra time is needed to work out a high-voltage interconnection agreement between the firm and the Bonneville Power Administration.
“We had hoped to have a 2009 construction schedule, but right now the plans are to start turbine unit installations in spring 2010,” said Joy Potter, Horizon’s Kittitas Valley project manager, on Friday.
The agreement involves power lines from the wind farm interconnecting with BPA lines that cross the approximate 6,000-acre project, which takes in ridgetops on both sides of U.S. Highway 97.
Potter said more technical work than previously estimated is required to develop the agreement.
It’s believed that BPA, as part of a systemwide review by the federal power agency, also is examining how it can better integrate more wind and other alternative power projects that are planned to come on line in the near future throughout the West.
Depending on the timing of the agreement, Horizon may be able to start site preparation work, including road building, this fall.
In the meantime, Horizon is working to complete design and construction plans that will be submitted to the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, for approval before full construction is allowed to start.
Horizon also is seeking from Kittitas County right-of-way use for power lines from the wind farm.
Wind turbine towers for the site may range from 330- to 410-feet tall, depending on the type of turbine finally selected by the company.