BENTON COUNTY, WA - Scout Clean Energy is working towards a large renewable wind farm energy project set to take over 65,000 acres of private and agricultural land located four miles outside of the Tri-Cities in the Horse Heaven Hills area.
And while many in the Tri-Cities have spoken out, even started petitions against the project saying it will ruin their natural skyline views- Christopher Bubba Wiley, a fourth generation farmer from Horse Heaven Hills says he is a supporter of renewable energy, and wants others to know the project would completely transform his rural community and give local farmers there a fighting chance to survive.
"For the positive it would completely transform the lives of the people up here. I’m living in the same farm house that my great grandparents moved into in 1946... you don’t see new pick-ups around here. We’re not greedy land barons just out for the money. We’re trying to... we depend on the land to make a living and we’re stewards of the land, and we do the best we can to keep it healthy so we can continue to make a living- this project would help us do that," Wiley told NBC Right Now.
And as for those against the proposed wind farm project Wiley says the Tri-Cities area is ever growing, and these wind farms are an opportunity, and part of that growth.
"Look at the Tri-Cities area and how it’s expended in the last hundred years, or 80 years since the Hanford project. I think it’s 109 square miles of previously incorporated land that was previously undeveloped... how is that different form us trying to make a living out here? When you see this commerce and industry that has exploded into the Tri-Cities area, houses sprawling out into the country side- that’s not a natural landscape either," said Wiley.
Wiley also says his heart went out to the small business owners in the Tri-Cities when COVID-19 hit, and he is only asking for the same support from his neighbors in return.
According to Scout Clean Energy the wind farm project will bring in over $260 million dollars in tax revenue to Benton County, with much of that going directly to local schools.
Scout also says if their application is approved by Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) they are hoping to build the first phase of the project by the end of 2023.
For more information about the project go to: Horse Heaven Wind Project | EFSEC - The State of Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council