Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has been asked by SDS Lumber Company to interconnect its proposed Whistling Ridge Energy Project in Skamania County, Washington, to the Federal Columbia River Transmission System (FCRTS).
In June 2002, SDS Lumber Company submitted a generation interconnection request for 70-MW on the North Bonneville-Midway 230-kV transmission line approximately five miles West of BPA's Underwood Substation. Subsequently, SDS Lumber Company created a new limited liability company called Whistling Ridge Energy LLC, which submitted an application with WA EFSEC for site certification for the wind project. Whistling Ridge Energy LLC would finance, develop, own and operate the proposed wind project. The proposed wind facility would consist of up to approximately 50, 1.2- to 2.5-MW wind turbines up to 426 feet tall, as well as infrastructure such as newly-constructed and improved roads, transformers, underground collector lines, a substation, and an operations and maintenance (O&M) facility.
To inform its decision on whether to allow the proposed interconnection, BPA has prepared a joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with the State of Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC). Whistling Ridge Energy LLC would independently build, own and operate the wind project and their associated facilities.
This joint SEPA/NEPA EIS has allowed the coordination of EFSEC actions with federal actions in fulfillment of EFSEC's SEPA rules at Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 463-47-150. This joint EIS also complies with NEPA implementing regulations specifying that federal agencies shall cooperate with state and local agencies to the fullest extent possible, including by preparing joint state-federal EISs, to avoid duplication between NEPA and comparable state requirements (See 40 CFR § 1506.2).
While EFSEC and BPA are the entities that have prepared the Draft EIS, these agencies have worked collaboratively with Whistling Ridge Energy LLC to obtain necessary information about the project and its potential impacts for the EIS. Initially, EFSEC had intended to allow Whistling Ridge Energy LLC to prepare the EIS, as allowed by SEPA; however, after public concern was raised, EFSEC and BPA decided that the lead agencies would be directly responsible for preparing the EIS. Accordingly, we have used environmental information provided by Whistling Ridge Energy LLC and its consultants in the EIS as appropriate. All such information has been independently evaluated and reviewed for accuracy by the lead agencies, as well as by an independent, third party consultant retained by EFSEC.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) has been issued for the proposed Whistling Ridge Energy Project. EFSEC and BPA have worked together to ensure that this FEIS meets the requirements of both SEPA and NEPA. The FEIS describes the proposed Project and the environmental effects expected from both the proposed wind facility as well as BPA's proposed interconnection and substation facilities.
In March 2012, the Governor of Washington approved issuance of the Whistling Ridge Project site certificate with project modifications, including reducing the number of turbines. A legal challenge regarding the approval of the site certificate by EFSEC and the Governor has been filed in state court. BPA is not planning on issuing a Record of Decision (ROD) regarding interconnection of the proposed project to the FCRTS until there is greater clarity on the status of the project.
|For environmental-related information, contact:
|Andrew M. Montaño, Environmental Lead
Bonneville Power Administration - KEC-4
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208-3621
|For project information, contact:
|Amy M. Gardner, Project Manager
Bonneville Power Administration - TEP-TPP-1
P.O. Box 61409
Vancouver, WA 98666-1409
EPA's Comments on the Final EIS (306Kb pdf) (10/03/11)
Draft EIS Public Letter (29Kb pdf) (05/25/10)
Final EIS Public Letter (29Kb pdf) (08/23/11)
Final EIS (42.5MB pdf) (August 2011)
Draft EIS Comment Form (9Kb pdf) (05/25/10)
Draft EIS (05/21/10)
Updated Project Vicinity Map (707Kb pdf) (05/05/10)
Letter to the Public (32Kb pdf) (04/17/09)
Comment Form (13Kb pdf) (04/17/09)
Project Vicinity Map (1.6MB pdf) (04/17/09)
Notice of Intent (1.1MB pdf) (04/21/09)