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Controversial Coastal Wind Farm Cancelled

Wind turbines spin above Grayland Beach State Park. Photo by Tom Banse
Wind turbines spin above Grayland Beach State Park. Photo by Tom Banse

A group of four public utilities has cancelled a wind farm development that would have been one of the first and the biggest on the Northwest coast. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

The Radar Ridge Wind Project would've had as many as 32 turbine towers on state forestland near the southwest Washington coast. The partners in the project quietly scuttled the wind farm last week before a single foundation was dug.

Jack Baker is a vice president at project developer Energy Northwest. He says environmental regulators proposed unacceptable permit conditions to protect a threatened seabird, the marbled murrelet.

"They asked us in their permit recommendations to shut (the turbines) down for six months during daylight hours," Baker says. "Why would you have a wind project if you couldn't run it for six months?"

The consortium of participating utilities has sunk $4 million into planning the wind farm, money that's now down the drain.

Opponents led by the Audubon Society are celebrating the cancellation. The critics argued the coastal wind farm posed an unacceptable risk to the marbled murrelet.

On the Web:

Radar Ridge Wind Project:

http://www.energy-northwest.com/radarridge/

Wind-Wildlife Impacts Literature Database:

http://www.nrel.gov/wind/wild.html

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.