Northwest Renewable News

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Teanaway solar Reserve debate continues in Wash. November 14, 2009

The Web site of a group calling itself Friends of the Teanaway misrepresents the impact of a proposed solar reserve project sought for the area, a backer of the project said Thursday.

Teanaway Solar Reserve LLC, a private company headed by Howard Trott, hopes to build a solar reserve which backers say would produce up to 75 megawatts of energy, enough to potentially power was many as 45,000 homes.

Ron Dotzauer of Strategies 360, a firm working on the Teanaway Solar Reserve (TSR) project, said he was a little “chagrinned and taken aback” by claims made by Jim Brose, chairman of the group which claims more than 20 families including representatives from both the West Side and Kittitas County.

Brose, a Mill Creek resident, has property in the Teanaway.

The group’s Web site, http://www.friendsoftheteanaway.org, claims that the TSR project poses significant negative impacts for both the land, wildlife and the community.

TSR says the Web site is a scare tactic with misleading and erroneous information.

“He’s got no credibility,” Dotzauer said of Brose. Claims made about negative impacts of the project were “half-truths or making things up. He talks about destruction of 600 acres of ‘pristine land.’ That site has been logged several times in the past few years. To call it ‘pristine’ is just baloney,” Dotzauer said.

He noted that the company has pledged to plant three trees for any tree removed as a result of the project.

Dotzauer said claims on the Web site that the project would visible in “all directions for up to eight miles” are not the truth.

Dotzauer said the site deliberately misrepresents the actual impact.

“His messages are to scare people but they’re not honest,” Dotzauer said.

Brose, who said in an interview earlier this week that his group feels TSR is rushing to move the project through the county permitting process, is off base in suggesting TSR is trying to ram it down the community’s throat, Dotzauer said.

Project backers could have chosen to seek approval for the project through the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) rather than Kittitas County, Dotzauer said.

EFSEC provides a “one-stop” siting process for major energy facilities in the state and coordinates all evaluation and licensing steps. The Wild Horse Wind and Solar Power Project, the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project and the Desert Claim Wind Power Project have all been handled by EFSEC.

“We could have gone the EFSEC route and said ‘To heck with the community.’ I have every confidence if we’d gone that route we’d have had no trouble (winning approval),” he said. “We chose not to do that. We chose to come into the community and talk not only about renewable energy but about the jobs it can potentially create and the things we’re doing to help the community.”

Dotzauer said he believes most in the Cle Elum community who oppose the project are people who oppose creating an economy around renewable energy.

TSR, which proposes to bring a company to Cle Elum to assemble the 400,000 photovoltaic panels it says will be needed for the project, says the solar reserve has the potential to bring both jobs and to allow Central Washington University “to put its stake in the ground” in terms of renewable energy programs and training.

“We’re being transparent with what we’re doing,” he said. “I’m tired of people who lob missiles from a long distance” instead of coming up and directly confronting TSR representatives.

“He doesn’t want to tell the truth,” Dotzauer said. “All he wants to do is scare people. I get tired of the Jim Broses of the world who have theirs and don’t want anyone else to get theirs.”

Meagan Walker, also of Strategies 360, said backers of the project had considered using the EFSEC route but opted against it, choosing to make the community part of the process.

“It was a very intentional decision,” she said.

Dotzauer said information on TSR is available at http://www.teanawaysolarreserve.com or by e-mail at info@teanawaysolarreserve.com or by calling (877) 509-76527 (SOLAR).

MARY SWIFT, Daily Recordhttp://www.kvnews.com/articles/2009/11/14/news/doc4afe5cd5e9c93482588177.txt

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