12. May 2024 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus for May Policy Briefing · Categories: Committee News

Ag and Rural Caucus for May Policy Briefing

Policy Briefing

6:30 pm Thursday 16 May
Off-Shore Wind Development off Washington Coast
Brian Polayge, UW School of Engineering

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Off-Shore Wind Development
BOEM as villain; then what?
Last week I sat in on a LD 19 Zoom conversation. BOEM came up and it was clear that it is a candidate for villain in the off-shore wind question. One point was clear and recurring: “No one is listening to us!” Coastal residents want to be heard, just like the rest of us.

The rest of the story remains to be put on the table – what are the consequences for coastal fisheries if a string of wind turbines is tethered just over the horizon?

What are the tradeoffs? Do we have credible research on the projected effects on the fisheries? When we have the data, how are we going to take it in? Will we stonewall,  or will we – like EFSEC – accept a tradeoff?

Join the conversation this Thursday. Brian will help us clarify what we know.

FYI: Hilary Franz, Public Lands Commissioner and candidate for CD 6, noted in the meeting that DNR regulates access for three miles off coast.

13 May 2024
Off-Shore Wind Development
No Easy Task: Lessons from EFSEC
Siting of renewable energy facilities, wind and solar for the most part, are political minefields. Scout Energy ran into local opposition when it proposed a large wind, solar, and battery system in Benton County. Called the Horse Heaven project, opponents scored points with EFSEC. Tribal cultural sites were found; ferruginous hawk nests were documented in the area, viewscape from Richland was impaired and land values were compromised, and aerial fire fighting was made more difficult. In the end, EFSEC recommended that the governor approve Scout’s Horse Heaven project with selected mitigations that reduced the project’s potential output.

EFSEC’s handwringing in the Horse Heaven case is what is important here. EFSEC is keenly aware of its role in the state meeting its requirements in RCW 80.50.010, and the necessity of balancing state goals with environmental and local interests.

…the Council must balance the legislative directive to  provide for abundant clean energy at reasonable cost with the impact to the environment and the broad interests of the public. This is no easy task.

“No easy task” may be an understatement. EFSEC goes on to write

…the Council is persuaded that projects aimed at meaningfully mitigating climate change cannot be hidden from public view. Like all energy facilities, they will necessarily have impacts. The question is not whether all impacts must be avoided. They cannot be. [emphasis added]

So, what does this mean in the context of off-shore wind? Join in on the 16th and find out.

10 May 2024
Off-Shore Wind Development
Some of the Actors
You know why people are looking at off-shore wind…the State of Washington is committed to transitioning away from fossil fuels. And off-shore wind is not only out of sight, mostly, it is also “better” than on-shore wind: “Offshore winds tend to blow harder and more uniformly than on land. “ This is from BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.)

BOEM is one of the differences in off-shore energy. BOEM is a federal office. On dry land we are not accustomed to seeing BOEM as a player. EFSEC (Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council) is our decider. Larry Thevik, head of Washington’s Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association, would like to see something like EFSEC having a role in the waters:

The state’s Coastal Zone Management Act, for example, could provide a “hook” for the state to have a greater influence in BOEM’s decision-making process than in other states…

One last reference for today. The Daily World from Aberdeen has a background piece introducing several other of the main actors (e.g.,Trident, Hecate) that will show up when we talk with Brian.

8 May 2024
Off-Shore Wind Development: Tradeoffs
On the 16th we are going to learn about tethering large wind turbines to the continental shelf off the southwest coast of Washington to generate electricity that will be wired to the grid for I-5 consumers.

That is just the beginning. Our presenter is Brian Polagye. He works out of UW’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. He knows details. Like steering activity clear of US Defense marine reserves, like whether Grays Harbor has the capacity to build towers, like how Norwegian oil rigs show to work in deep water…

Brian brings technical expertise to our table but he also brings an unusual understanding of the political issues. From the minutes of a WCMAC (Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council) meeting:

Assuming that, if OSW development occurs in WA…how can/should engagement balance diffuse benefits to a relatively large number of energy users against potentially acute impacts to a smaller (but significant) number of existing ocean users?

This is the crux of our on-going discussion of renewal energy. Join us.

5 May 2024
Policy Briefing: Off-Shore Wind Development in Washington

Off-Shore wind proposals are coming to Washington. We are late to the game. Europe is well ahead of North America in adopting off-shore wind, the east coast on the Atlantic is ahead of us on the west coast, and California and Oregon on the Pacific are ahead of us.

What can we learn from the early adopters? The “what” in this case is both the technical and the political. Why go to bother of building turbines in the sea? And what are the effects on local fishing industries?

Join Brian Polayge, UW School of Engineering, for our policy briefing on 16 May. Brian knows the technical aspects of off-shore wind and understands well the politics.

26 April 2024

Our Better Practices roundtable is on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm.. Use the link above for 2024.

Our Policy Series is on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm. Use the link above for 2024

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Ag and Rural Caucus of State Democratic Central Committee
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