TUUSSO building three new solar facilities in Kittitas County
LACEY, Wash. - The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) approved the Initial Site Restoration Plan for the Columbia Solar energy project, allowing TUUSSO to start construction today on three new solar facilities in Kittitas County.
The Columbia Solar project — the first solar project sited by EFSEC — includes three solar arrays and two generation tie lines in Kittitas county, collectively spanning 200 acres of leased land. The company began construction today in Penstemon and will stagger work in Camas and Urtica over the following weeks.
Each new solar array will be capable of providing up to 5 megawatts of solar energy within the Puget Sound Energy service area, for a total of 15 megawatts of electrical power generation.
As part of the site approval the company committed to site restoration and financial assurance that they will return the site to agricultural use at the end of the useful life of the facilities. On June 15, EFSEC approved the company’s Initial Site Restoration Plans, which outline how the company will restore the Urtica, Penstemon, and Camas sites.
During the siting process, the public raised concerns about the disruption of natural vegetation, which the company addressed by committing to a revegetation and vegetation management plan in disturbed areas. TUUSSO also agreed to establish an ongoing Technical Advisory Committee to monitor mitigation success over the life of the project and completed a raptor study to investigate impacts on the local raptor population.
In October 2017, TUUSSO Energy applied for a site certification agreement from EFSEC to construct and operate the Columbia Solar facility, requesting an expedited review process. After reviewing a completed environmental checklist, EFSEC granted their request, finding that the project would have limited impacts on the environment with mitigation measures.
Gov. Jay Inslee, based on EFSEC’s recommendation, approved the construction of the facility in October 2018.
EFSEC is the state agency charged with providing one-stop permitting for certain types of major energy projects in Washington. EFSEC specifies the conditions of construction and operation. The council also manages an environmental and safety oversight program of facility and site operations.