First Wind says it has received a conditional-use permit (CUP) for its Palouse Wind project, to be located in Whitman County, Wash. The CUP, a necessary approval to build and operate the project, was reviewed and approved by an independent, specialized hearing examiner, who is employed by the county.
Before issuing the CUP, Whitman County conducted an eight-month-long analysis of the potential impacts of the project under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The final environmental impact statement, which was issued in March, found that the mitigation measures developed as a result of the SEPA review will limit, and in most circumstances eliminate, adverse impacts associated with the project.
The Palouse project, whose size is yet undetermined, has been permitted for up to 65 wind turbines and 195 MW. According to First Wind, road construction and infrastructure work is expected to begin as early as this year, with the bulk of the project construction beginning in 2012.