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Grant County commissioners want to develop standards for wind, solar power facilities

| August 6, 2021 1:00 AM

EPHRATA — Grant County commissioners have imposed a six-month moratorium on new wind and solar power generation projects in the unincorporated areas of the county. Grant County Development Services Director Damien Hooper said Thursday county officials will work on development standards during the six months.

Commissioners approved an ordinance establishing the moratorium Tuesday. It applies to all wind and solar projects.

There are no applications pending for wind or solar projects in the unincorporated areas of the county.

“There’s interest. We get calls fairly frequently” about building solar or wind facilities, he said.

Hooper said the county’s current development standards treat a solar or wind installation as a utility, but the utility standards don’t address many of the issues surrounding solar and wind projects.

The new development standards will have criteria for locating solar and wind installations to be compatible with surrounding uses. The standards will address materials used in solar and wind generation, and disposal of the components and materials when they’ve reached the end of their useful life.

“What happens when they’re done with them (components)?” Hooper said.

That’s been a recurring topic with people he has talked to about solar and wind development, he said.

A hearing will be scheduled at some time during the six months to take public comment on the standards. The Grant County Planning commission will write the standards, and the draft plan will go to the commissioners for review and approval.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.