Northwest Renewable News

Your Daily Source for Renewable Energy News in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana & Northern California

Intel to install 800kw of solar at Oregon facilities January 26, 2010

Filed under: Oregon,Solar — nwrenewablenews @ 8:13 pm
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Intel said today that it plans to add 800 kilowatts of solar power at its Oregon facilities over the next seven months, adding to 100 kilowatts already at its Jones Farm campus in Hillsboro.

The new solar capacity is equivalent to the power used by 80 homes, according to Portland General Electric. The new solar power is being supplied by First Solar Inc., headquartered in Tempe, Arizona.

The pending installation in Hillsboro is part of a broader solar commitment by Intel, which is also adding solar panels in Arizona, California and New Mexico — 2.5 megawatts altogether.

Additionally, Intel said it will increase its consumption of renewable energy credits to 1.43 billion kilowatt hours — more than 51 percent of its total annual electricity consumption. Intel said its Oregon power bill is about $55 million annually.

Intel employs more in Oregon than any other business, with more than 15,000 working for the company in Washington County.

Mike Rogoway, Oregonian –


Water bureau to flip switch on biggest solar station in the NW January 21, 2010

Filed under: Oregon,Solar,Utility Companies — nwrenewablenews @ 10:04 pm
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The Pacific Northwest’s largest water utility-powered solar station will go online next week in Northeast Portland.

The Portland Water Bureau will flip the switch for “Solar on the Slough” at the Columbia South Shore Well Field, Portland’s groundwater supply source, next Tuesday.

The more than 1,200 panels near NE Airport Way will generate nearly 300,000 kilowatts of electricity each year, about 1.5 percent of the power used by the bureau.

The panels can also generate up to 9,000 watts even on cloudy days.

The electricity runs to a meter, then to a pump station. Energy not used by the pump station is sent to the PGE utility grid.

Checkout the Live cam

David Krough, KGW


Ellensburg residents invest in solar power park December 11, 2009

Filed under: Solar,Washington — nwrenewablenews @ 2:30 pm
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Gary Nystedt was brainstorming with a group of colleagues at a solar energy conference a few years ago when the idea hit him.

What if Ellensburg put up solar panels in a park and invited residents to invest in the system? As a return on their investment in clean energy, residents would get a credit on their electric bill.

Nystedt, resource manager for the city of Ellensburg – which owns the local electric and gas utilities – enlisted the support of his boss. The City Council in turn got behind the effort.

With help from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and Washington State University’s Northwest Solar Center, Ellensburg launched in 2006 what is believed to be the first “community solar park” in the country, putting the already progressive municipal utility on the leading edge of getting power to the people.

It’s an idea that experts say could be replicated in communities across the country. In the meantime, hoping to encourage the trend in Washington state, lawmakers increased the amount of the credit available to individuals who invest in renewable community projects. The rules implementing the credit could take effect early next year, according to the state Department of Revenue.

Nobody’s getting rich off the Ellensburg project. Instead, it’s driven by the community’s commitment to explore the potential of renewable energy.

“A lot of people in this community really believe in getting away from fossil fuels,” said George Bottcher, a City Council member and investor.

Indeed, Nystedt’s back-of-the-napkin idea three years ago was prompted by residents who were peppering Ellensburg utility officials with questions about installing solar panels on their homes and tying into the grid, which can be a tricky proposition.

Being responsive to customers – who also happen to own the utility – is part of the job, said Nystedt.

“People were turning to us, asking questions about solar, and this was one way we could address them.”

Ellensburg has a history of thinking ahead when its comes to utilities. The city created its electric utility, known as City Light, in 1892, making it the oldest in the state. And it is the only city in the state where customers also own the gas utility.

Residents, who enjoy some of the lowest electric rates in the state, also don’t have their cityscape marred by overhead power lines. The city utility made a decision long ago to minimize visual pollution by burying them. Any power lines that are visible in the area belong to the Kittitas County Public Utility District.

The community solar park continues that forward-thinking tradition and has evolved into a project that now draws frequent visitors and inquiries from around the country, not to mention South Korea, West Africa and Australia.

And the project just got sweeter. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced a $600,000 grant that includes the city’s renewable-energy park in a regional effort called the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project.

Ellensburg, along with utilities and energy companies from Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming, will test and analyze state-of-the art technology to improve power delivery, a concept called “smart grid.” Estimated to be a $178 million project, it will be managed by Battelle, which operates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.

The grant will enable the city to install a different type of solar technology and add several small wind-power systems at the site, which is located in West Ellensburg Park and is visible from Interstate 90. Ellensburg’s role in the larger project is to provide data comparing the effectiveness of various renewable technologies on a small scale.

“They are really taking a very innovative approach and will provide a source of data we otherwise wouldn’t have,” said Ron Melton, manager of the regional demonstration project at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

A community approach overcomes many of the barriers that can discourage individuals who want to harvest the sun, said Bryce Smith, director of the project management group for the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, a national nonprofit based in Portland that supports renewable energy and watershed restoration.

Solar can be expensive for individual homeowners, costing as much as $30,000 for a standard residential installation.

“There are many people who like solar, but their roofs are shaded, or they’re renting, or they’re going to move in two years,” said Smith. “With a project like this, you not only give people greater access to solar but you can take advantage of the scale, which brings costs down.”

Power distribution is another issue. Most people want power from the city’s grid to flow into their homes at night when their own system isn’t keeping up with household energy demands.

Managing a number of different connections can be a problem for utility companies, explained Melton. He recalled an incident in Southern California where neighbors joined to install a cluster of solar panels around their cul-de-sac. On a sunny but cool day – when the homes weren’t using air conditioning – the panels became extremely hot, causing power to flow into the utility’s system in excess of the nearest substation’s capacity. The result was a power failure.

But Ellensburg manages its connection between the solar park and its distribution system from a single point of entry, which is safer and more reliable, Melton said.

Currently, 85 residents have invested in the solar park, which officials are now calling the “renewables park” because it will soon have wind as well as solar technology.

With a minimum contribution of $250, local residents and businesses help defray the cost of the solar modules, inverters and the racking systems that hold the panels. Future contributions in any amount can be made over the next five years. One unnamed investor put in $11,000.

Investors see a credit on their electric bill amounting to their share of the investment. If someone contributed 3 percent of the total funds, for example, that individual receives the dollar value of 3 percent of the power produced by the solar project. With Washington’s new legislation to encourage solar parks, the credit will go up from about 4 cents a kilowatt hour to 34 cents.

This month, the city is installing the third phase of its solar technology, using the newer “thin-film” panels. The 180 panels are smaller than conventional ones made from thicker crystalline silicon. In phases one and two, the city installed 192 silicon panels that produce 57 kilowatts.

Measuring the trade-offs between the two types of panels will be part of the data collection for the regional demonstration project, with help from Central Washington University.

The next solar technology planned for the park is “concentrating.” Large, reflective panels that look like the old giant satellite TV dishes concentrate sunlight onto a receiver that converts it to a usable form. The installations will use what is called a Stirling engine to generate electricity.

Plans also call for at least four different types of small-scale wind projects that are sized for distributed power, that is, the consumption of energy close to where it’s generated.

Ellensburg has a long way to go before it can rely on renewable energy. Power from renewable sources is barely a measurable fraction of the city’s total load.

But Bob Titus, an electrical engineer and director of Ellensburg’s energy services department, said he expects solar technology to blossom over time, much like now ubiquitous cell phones.

“Everything is moving in the direction that these technologies will be cost effective. We just have to start the ball rolling,” he said.

LEAH BETH WARD, Tri City Herald


Renewable Energy beginning to energize Alaska November 29, 2009

Filed under: Alaska,Energy Efficiency,Geothermal,Solar,Wind — nwrenewablenews @ 5:47 pm
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Two spinning turbines dot the sky above Palmer, putting the quaint colony-era town on the forefront of a grass-roots make-your-own energy movement sweeping Alaska.

One of the wind-power turbines — like a streamlined pinwheel or a futuristic windmill — stands above a local chiropractor’s office. The other is a green addition to an elementary school playground.

The turbines are part of a move toward renewable energy in Alaska. Wind turbines dot rural Alaska. Solar arrays power a building in Nome. Tourists soak at Chena Hot Springs Resort, a getaway powered by geothermal energy. And increasingly, homeowners are using energy derived from the sun and wind to heat their homes, keep the refrigerator running and charge their iPhones.

Some involved in this movement are driven by a desire to reduce their impact on the environment. For others, the decision is financial. Using alternative energy means less reliance on diesel fuel to power generators.

State and local officials have been busy writing new rules for how all this can work, especially the backyard wind turbines.

Chiropractor Joseph Hawkins of Palmer is a pioneer. His roughly 50-foot-tall turbine makes more electricity than needed at his business, BIONIC Chiropractic, so he has a contract to sell the extra power to Matanuska Electric Association. He’s one of the first people in the Valley to ever do that.

His turbine towers over BIONIC Chiropractic at 642 S. Alaska St. It went up on Oct. 2. Hawkins said he’s been interested in renewable energy since helping his family install solar power in Utah 25 years ago.

“I’ve been involved or interested in doing anything we can do to be resourceful or protect the environment,” Hawkins said. “It portrays the healthy lifestyle I want to represent as a chiropractor.”

The turbine at his business is a residential-size model made by Skystream. It cost about $22,000 installed.

The turbine whirls frequently in Palmer, where breezes are common. Hawkins said he believes it will pay for itself in five to seven years.

Power generated is used first in the chiropractic office building he built last year. Matanuska Electric buys what’s left. In the six weeks the turbine has been energized, that’s been less than a hundred kilowatts, Hawkins said. The average home uses about 30 kilowatts each day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Hawkins and Lukas Strickland, a friend working with him on alternative energy plans, said they hope to install other types of renewables soon.

“Right now in Alaska people don’t really know what to think yet. This kind of project is really important to get people thinking about what renewable energy is,” Strickland said.



The second Palmer turbine, installed Nov. 6, is a dramatic addition to the Sherrod Elementary School playground. The school’s Alaska-themed playground includes boulders marking Mount McKinley and a partial pipeline. Now, a 51-foot tall Skystream turbine stands about where Fire Island would be on the playground map.

It’s the first wind turbine installed at an Alaska school as part of the national Wind for Schools program. Principal Mark Hoffman said Sherrod is taking part in the U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored program and tapping into wind energy-related curriculum for students. Schools in 26 states, including Alaska, participate.

In most of those states, small wind turbines have been installed, and teachers use data from the turbine as part of their lesson plan for teaching about energy and weather. At Sherrod, the turbine is powering hallway lights. District officials said it’s too early to know how much of the school’s energy bill the turbine might offset.

Sean Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Sherrod, said he’s eager to have a new way to help his students understand a difficult concept like energy.

“It’s really foreign because (energy) is not obvious,” Williams said.

He teaches students that rubbing their palms together is one kind of energy and rolling a ball on the carpet is another. But other concepts are more difficult to teach. Now, with tools like exploded diagrams showing what’s going on inside the turbine and software that can track energy being produced, Williams said he believes his students will learn more.

Charlotte Ray said her third-grade class at Sherrod will focus more on the weather — what makes the turbine spin, and will it spin more tomorrow than it did today?

Ray’s students learn about weather patterns and make predictions, then record data to show what the weather was like over time.

“The goal in education is to interest and challenge them, and to help them get excited about learning,” she said. “Also, it’s cool for the kids to see how we can use where we live — in windy Palmer — as a benefit. It’s so often a detriment.”



Nobody has a wind turbine whirling in their backyard in Anchorage, but the municipality and its power company are working to change that.

Anchorage zoning rules currently don’t permit wind turbines. One of its electric companies, Municipal Light & Power, doesn’t allow small consumers to hook a backyard turbine to the electrical grid and sell power back to the utility.

Jim Posey, general manager of Municipal Light & Power, said the city-owned electrical utility will soon offer “net-metering” contracts to Anchorage residents. The utility is waiting for the Regulatory Commission of Alaska — which oversees public utilities — to finalize its new net-metering rules.

Net metering is a policy that allows people or companies that own small renewable-energy facilities to sell excess power they generate to their local electric company.

Alaska is one of six states lacking net-metering laws. But the Regulatory Commission on Oct. 14 approved net-metering regulations. A commission spokeswoman said the regulations should go to the state attorney general’s office for review this month. Eventually, they’ll go to Gov. Sean Parnell to be enacted.



Hawkins and Sherrod Elementary already have an agreement like that with Matanuska Electric Association. MEA consumers typically buy power for 16 cents per kilowatt. The co-generation rate — what MEA pays small producers — is about 6.2 cents. MEA spokeswoman Lorali Carter said the difference represents the utility’s cost to maintain its transmission lines and other infrastructure.

Posey described a similar set-up in the works at ML&P.

But the new net-metering laws might be in place for months before Anchorage residents can legally hoist a turbine into the air on their property. Residents who ask municipal officials about putting wind generators up now are told to wait, Anchorage physical planning supervisor Tyler Robinson said.

Robinson’s office worked last year to develop land-use rules about installing wind turbines.

The Planning and Zoning Commission passed the rules last fall. But the measure stalled when it reached the Assembly. The Assembly is rewriting city zoning laws and wants to finish them first before tackling new issues, Robinson said. The wind-generation rules may be on hold until mid-2010, he said.

Robinson said he gets frequent calls from city residents interested in installing wind generation on their property. There’s definitely interest.

But Anchorage isn’t an easy place to adopt one rule for all residents. The city wants to make sure wind-turbine rules are made after a vibrant public discussion.

“Some of these smaller applications, whether on residential lots or in business districts, will really challenge the values that people have,” he said.

“I don’t think if we were to just put it out there tomorrow it would be entirely embraced with open arms and everyone would think it’s a great idea. But I think the mayor is generally supportive.”



Wind and other alternative power systems are cropping up all over the state, largely spurred on by abundant sources of funds — federal and state grants for renewable energy and federal tax credits for installed systems — and communities eager to cut their dependence on expensive diesel fuel.

Alternative energy supplier Kirk Garoutte, owner of Susitna Energy, said he talked Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan into granting him permission to install two turbines at his 2507 Fairbanks St. property to help him demonstrate the equipment he sells.

Without net-metering in place, the turbines will only churn wind, not make electricity, but Garoutte said they’ll allow his customers to watch turbines in action.

A residential set-up, installed, costs about $15,000, he said. A Department of Energy program that delivers a 30-percent tax credit for residential renewable energy systems installed by 2016 can help lower upfront costs.

Perryville, an Alaska Peninsula community of 133 people, installed 10 of his turbines, Garoutte said. He believes the turbines will pay for themselves in about 18 months. Others whirl in Nome, Shaktoolik, Chignik, Kipnuk, Fairbanks, Healy and Willow.

Meera Kohler, president of Alaska Village Electrical Cooperative, said her power company for 53 villages has energized 21 turbines since 2003. Four more will be spinning in Chevak before the end of the year, she said.

These are commercial-grade turbines, with an installed cost of nearly $1 million each, plus $1.5 million for a system that lets the turbines be monitored from afar, Kohler said.

AVEC spends about $5 million a year on diesel. The board hopes to shave $1.2 million off that with wind-generated energy, Kohler said.

Kodiak Electric Association in August installed three 1.5 megawatt turbines, each producing enough electricity to power 330 homes.

Darron Scott, Kodiak Electric chief executive, said in an August presentation to the Alaska Power Association that he expects the turbines will save 800,000 gallons of diesel each year.

A 36-turbine wind farm planned for Fire Island is expected to generate about 10 times the electricity from Kodiak’s three-turbine wind farm. Work on Fire Island could begin next year.

“We’re starting to see a lot of momentum pick up with wind around the state,” said Chris Rose, founder of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project.



Jerald Brown, president of the Bering Straits Native Corp. of Nome, said the corporation has invested more than $3 million in alternative energy products recently.

Two years ago, Bering Straits installed 93 solar panels on its Nome office building. The corporation also installed solar hot water heaters in two apartment buildings it owns, and partnered with Sitnasuak Native Corp. on Banner Wind LLC, a wind farm with 18 turbines that sells power to Nome Joint Utility.

Brown said the corporation is opening an energy-efficiency store in the corporate office building to sell LED light bulbs, energy-efficient garbage composters and timers to plug vehicles into.

Outside Fairbanks, a century-old resort where tourists flock to watch amazing northern lights displays while soaking in natural hot springs is on the forefront of alternative energy of a different kind.

In 2006, Chena Hot Springs owner Bernie Karl started generating power from geothermal hot water under the resort. This year he unveiled another mobile plant that uses heated waste water, from oil and gas development and other sources.

Out in Southwest Alaska, Naknek Electric Association is using millions in federal money to drill into potential geothermal sources. Its November newsletter describes results so far as “hopeful.”

There’s a lot happening Alaska backyards, too. This summer, 30 homeowners around the state participated in a “solar tour” aimed at taking the mystery out of green building techniques and home renewable energy systems.

In the Valley, some homes on the tour relied on renewable energy by necessity: A house made of straw bales that is beyond the reach of electricity and off-grid cabins near the Talkeetna Mountains that rely mostly on solar power, for example. Others incorporated efficient designs and renewable features for other reasons.

A modern two-story colonial home with a garage and full basement on the tour is heated by sun-warmed water. Homeowners Dave and Karen Jones said they wanted a low-maintenance home with low energy costs that they can enjoy in their retirement.

“We’re not making any concessions,” said Dave Jones. “We’re not tree huggers. We’re normal people. We’re just looking for a more efficient way to do it.”

Phillip St. John, president of the nonprofit Alaska Center for Appropriate Technology, said events like the solar tour show people renewable energy is something anyone can do.

“There’s really people out there doing it. Their neighbors are doing it,” he said. “If you think renewable energy is something for the future, then you’re living in the past.”

Rindi White, Associated Press –


Walla Walla-area community power project in early stages November 19, 2009

A Walla Walla University professor is building a coalition to help bring solar power into wider use.

WWU physics professor Frederic Liebrand is excited about a goal he’s about to reach. He has been working toward making Walla Walla and its three colleges the center of a transformation in the way we obtain energy.

For nearly a year Liebrand has been focusing on a project to engage the entire community in a renewable energy production program.

The project builds on work done elsewhere in the state by energy pioneers such as the city of Ellensburg and its resource manager, Bill Nystedt. Liebrand seeks to establish a community solar project in Walla Walla, not only to decrease our energy dependence on foreign oil, but also to help the environment in a way that builds the economic base of the Valley and supports higher education for residents.

“The community approach allows us to tackle head-on the obstacles facing renewable energy,” Liebrand said. “They include high up-front cost, long pay-back periods, lack of consumer know-how and qualified installers and possible harm to the aesthetics of the Valley from the installations.”

So what is it? A community solar project is a state-recognized organization that allows participants who wish to help develop renewable energy production to pool their resources. While participants may track individual ownership, their properties share a common centralized location with economies of scale in installation, operation and maintenance. Additionally, the economic benefits of the production are passed back to the participants with little or no effort on their part. A law passed in May gives participants twice the state production incentives that homeowners can achieve.

A power utility not only receives state incentives for building capacity, but it also has the ability to sell bonds and amortize costs over decades. The incentives allow a more level playing ground for individuals, and with the new state law, the payback period for community projects is half as long as for individuals. Assuming all equipment is manufactured within the state, the production incentives pay at rates of up to $1.08 per kilowatt-hour for community projects. And the incentives last until 2020.

Liebrand’s goal is to install solar energy systems on the flat rooftops public and college buildings have throughout the area.

“Good design allows the energy production to be essentially invisible, which removes any aesthetic concerns,” Liebrand said.

The colleges and universities play an important role as well. Their nonprofit status allows them to bring in participation not only from community members and businesses, but also from alumni and out-of-state corporations that wish to donate to any of the three area schools: Walla Walla University, Whitman College and Walla Walla Community College.

“In essence, we hope to bring outside money into the valley to help build our own infrastructure, and both federal and state law makes that attractive to all parties,” Liebrand said. Faculty members Bob Carson at Whitman College and Steve May at WWCC have joined in support of the program’s development.

There are additional ways that college participation can enhance the program over other community projects.

“A person purchasing an entire system should qualify for the 30 percent federal investment tax credit. After a required holding period, they are then able to donate the system to the school for a charitable donation,” Liebrand said. “Participants interested in charity receive greater returns from their work than they would otherwise.”

All charitable donations to the project are currently slated to be used to fund scholarships for area students, keeping the money inside the valley to help future generations. Liebrand is currently in talks with state Department of Revenue representatives to try to ensure the most favorable rules for the state incentives possible.

Installing solar panels could also provide technical career training to area students. Liebrand’s idea is to have students do the installation work themselves as part of a proposed supervised training program.

As of now, the project has passed an initial legal review and received cautious enthusiasm from each of the area campuses.

“The state law requires that the project be owned either by a utility or a state municipality,” explains Liebrand. “That’s our next step. I’m in talks with a number of municipal organizations that share an interest in not only housing the project, but also in participating by having their public space used for energy production as well.”

Once ownership is determined, and with state rules finalized by January, Liebrand hopes to have a project ready to present.

“It is well accepted that our current national energy structure is neither optimal nor sustainable,” Liebrand said. “Correcting this problem need not be disruptive to the economy or place large burdens on the individual. That is the purpose of this project.”

WWU physics professor Frederic Liebrand is excited about a goal he’s about to reach. He has been working toward making Walla Walla and its three colleges the center of a transformation in the way we obtain energy.

For nearly a year Liebrand has been focusing on a project to engage the community in a renewable energy production program.

“The community approach allows us to tackle head-on the obstacles facing renewable energy,” Liebrand said. “They include high up-front cost, long pay-back periods, lack of consumer know-how and qualified installers and possible harm to the aesthetics of the Valley from the installations.”

By BECKY ST. CLAIR, Walla Walla Union Bulletin


Treasure Valley company relies on solar power to charge electronic devices in automobiles November 16, 2009

Filed under: Idaho,Manufacturing,Solar — nwrenewablenews @ 6:05 pm
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A Treasure Valley company has come up with a way to charge electronic devices in an automobile without draining the battery or requiring the vehicle run on idle for long periods of time.

Treasure Valley Solar in Boise has put together an integrated system that uses the power of the sun to charge electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, and PDA’s without turning on the vehicle’s engine.

The equipment could meet the needs of companies with fleets of vehicles that are out in the field or even construction companies looking for ways to charge their power tools, say company officials.

The cost: $1,200 to $1,500.

Bill Robert, Idaho Statesman


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,, 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 or by e-mail at or by calling (877) 509-76527 (SOLAR).

MARY SWIFT, Daily Record