In this file:
· Cattle grazing gives way to big solar farm leases in Central Washington
· Solar project, with more than a half-million panels, proposed for private andstate lands near Columbia River
Cattle grazing gives way to big solar farm leases in Central Washington
By Tom Banse, Northwest News Network
via KUOW (WA) - Mar 06, 2019
A Portland-based energy developer has signed property leases for a big solar farm in Klickitat County near the Columbia River. When completed, the solar project will be the largest in Washington state.
The Avangrid Renewables solar farm is slated for 1,800 acres that most recently served as grazing land for cattle between Bickleton and Roosevelt, Washington. The development is named the Lund Hill Solar Project.
"This is an exciting announcement for us for a lot of reasons," said Avangrid Renewables spokesman Paul Copleman on Wednesday. "To expand our solar portfolio into new states is important. It's also fulfilling to support this work in Klickitat County where we already have wind projects."
The utility-scale solar farm is sited partly on private ranch land and partly on state-owned land. Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said the long-term lease with the solar developer is the first of its kind for her agency. It's far, far more lucrative than the cattle grazing lease it replaced.
"In this particular project, we were before generating about two dollars per acre per year. We will now be generating 300 dollars per acre," a clearly pleased Franz said in an interview Wednesday. "That will generate not only clean energy for Washington state residents, but also generate a significant amount of money to fund our schools, which is obviously a pressing need."
Franz said two more solar project leases in Klickitat County are in the works on state land. Energy developers have expressed interest in four other central Washington counties — Kittitas, Franklin, Douglas and Adams — as well, she added.
Franz said her agency has been working with ranchers to explain that the state has an obligation to put its working lands "to highest and best use." She said the state Department of Natural Resources would look for other grazing lands to lease to displaced ranchers who are willing to relocate.
Copleman, spokesman for Avangrid Renewables, said the company has lined up a customer for the 150 megawatts of output from the large solar farm, but declined to reveal the customer's name. That amount of solar generating capacity could power 15,000-18,000 average Pacific Northwest homes, according to calculations from the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Copleman said he anticipates this project will reach commercial operation by 2020, assuming the county permitting continues to go smoothly.
The Avangrid project will be significantly larger than any other solar farm in operation in...
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Solar project, with more than a half-million panels, proposed for private andstate lands near Columbia River
By Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times
via The Daily World (WA) - Mar 6th, 2019
One of the Northwest’s most ambitious solar projects has been proposed for 1,700 acres of private and public land in Klickitat County near the Columbia River, where Bonneville Power Administration lines following the waterway could carry the electricity to Western Washington.
Portland-based Avangrid Renewables seeks to build a project that would require more than 500,000 photovoltaic panels, to be spread in long rows of acreage now used for grazing cattle or in a federal conservation reserve, according to a document the company filed with its project application in Klickitat County.
Solar-energy farms have boomed in California, but have gotten off to a much slower start in Washington, where hydropower and — in the early 2000s — wind power have been the major sources of renewable-electricity generation.
One reason solar has had a slower start in Washington is the reduced power generation compared to states farther to the south. The 150-megawatt Avangrid solar farm — if sent to Washington residents — would provide power for some 15,000 homes, according to an analysis of Washington power use and solar production by the Solar Energy Industries Association. In California, that same capacity would generate enough electricity for more than 37,500 homes, according to the industry analysis.
But recently there has been a surge of interest in building new solar farms in Washington as well as in expanding wind power.
This is due, in part, to state lawmakers considering legislation to force utilities to clamp down on carbon emissions generated by coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants, but also by tech companies, such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook, interested in securing carbon-free electricity for their energy-guzzling centers that store information...