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Why clean energy production could end up in your backyard

The Horse Heaven Wind Farm Project near the Tri-Cities could become the largest of its kind in the state. 

The project, as originally planned, would span over 24 miles, and include wind turbines, solar panels, and battery storage.

But there are concerns: the land has previously been home to the endangered ferruginous hawk. It's also culturally important land to the Yakama Nation.

Those kinds of issues led a state energy council to approve the project – but scaled back, to about half the original scale. But last month, Governor Inslee essentially rejected the council’s recommendation for a smaller project. 

In a letter to the Energy Facility Siting and Evaluation Council, Inslee directed the council to reconsider its recommendation – and pushed for the maximum allowable energy generation. He says that would provide about 5% of the new electricity the state will need over the next decade.

Now, the state energy council has less than 90 days to respond to the Governor’s rejection. Inslee will decide whether or not to approve what they send him.

Washington’s energy needs could grow by 20 percent by 2030… and could double by 2050.

What does an ideal energy plan look like for Washington, and what would it take to get there?


  • Courtney Flatt, correspondent for NWPB and the Northwest News Network focusing on environmental, natural resources and energy issues in the Northwest

  • Darrin Magee, Director of the Institute for Energy Studies at Western Washington University
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