That leaves Energy Northwest and three PUDs in Clallam, Pacific and Mason counties to decide what to do with plans to build 32 wind turbines without the project’s largest investor.
The wind farm would be the largest in Western Washington and generate 60 to 80 megawatts of power. Conservationists are concerned about the effect of wind turbines on the marbled murrelet, a seabird listed as threatened on the federal endangered-species list.
Grays Harbor PUD commissioners questioned whether the project could get timely approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to meet lease and financing deadlines.
The commissioners on Monday opted not to commit $1.14 million to pay for more extensive environmental review, The Daily World in Aberdeen said.
To take advantage of $122 million in zero-interest financing from the Recovery Act, the utility said permitting must be done by 2011.
“It has great wind, but it comes with a lot of baggage,” PUD General Manager Rick Lovely told commissioners, who were also concerned about possible lawsuits.
Jack Baker, an Energy Northwest vice president, said he “respect(s) the rights of any organization to make such a cost-risk analysis.”
Baker said Energy Northwest will ask the three other utilities if they can cover the $2 million environmental review.
He added that the project did studies that found no serious threat to the marbled murrelet, but decided to complete a fuller study. Seattle Times