Northwest Renewable News

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Wind Energy Project testing underway in Mabton, Wash April 17, 2009

Glenn Williams was born on the Horse Heaven Hills ranch his father homesteaded in 1907.

For most of his life, the 84-year-old Williams has grown wheat on his ranch on Glade Road, south of Mabton.

Yields from his 293 acres of land could change if Horizon Wind Energy of Portland concludes Williams’ property and three others nearby are suitable for testing wind energy.

Horizon wants to lease land to install towers about 180 feet high on which meteorological stations will be mounted.

Lease terms are not being disclosed.

“It means more income so we can stay on the property,” Williams said following a hearing on requests to locate wind-measuring towers on the property.

The Williams ranch is currently idle under the federal Conservation Reserve Program, which pays producers to maintain cover crops to conserve topsoil.

A land-use official said at the conclusion of the one-hour hearing recently at Yakima City Hall that he will approve the application for up to three years of testing. More such requests could be coming his way, a representative of property owners said.

No one spoke against the requests at the sparsely attended hearing.

Tyson Utt, Horizon project manager, said following the hearing the company believes the Horse Heaven Hills will be a good site but must develop the data to confirm the belief.

In addition to Williams, the landowners are Jack Sharpe on Alderdale Road; Bob Andrews near Township Road; and Tom and Ron Mains and Beverly Ann Juris for property on Ridge Road.

The sites are between eight and 15 miles south of Mabton.

By DAVID LESTER, Yakima Herald-Republic


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