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Olympia, Wash.-based Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC), a licensing agency for nonhydro energy projects, recently accepted an order that recommends Gov. Christine Gregoire, D-Wash., approve the proposed Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project. The order and recommendation include specific conditions to minimize visual impacts and protect the environment, EFSEC says.

The Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project, which would be located 12 miles northwest of Ellensburg, Wash., consists of approximately 65 wind turbines for a capacity of 195 MW. If Gregoire approves the project, construction can commence, EFSEC adds, and would generate over $1.5 million in property taxes per year.

"The council has carefully considered potential visual impacts raised by residents in the affected area who are not participating in the development," says Jim Luce, EFSEC's chair. "Significant setbacks from those nonparticipating residents are required, and shadow flicker will not be allowed."

Prior to making its recommendation, EFSEC prepared an environmental impact statement, conducted adjudicative proceedings, and held public meetings and hearings throughout its review. (See "EFSEC Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement On Proposed Wind Farm.")

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