Skookumchuck Wind Energy PSE Project

The City Council recently approved an initiative to power our municipal buildings with wind. The Public Works Department continually investi-gates alternative power solutions in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and this approval is a milestone in our carbon-neutral journey. 

“The City has always been interested in the evolution and progress of green energy.” 
– Fred Buckenmeyer, Director of Public Works 

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Puget Sound Energy, our current energy provider, identified a need its large commercial and municipal customers had to lower their carbon footprint in a cost-effective way, while also knowing where their alternative energy source was located. As a result, they created Green Direct – a product that sells bundled renewable energy to industrial customers from one source. In this case it will be the Skookumchuck Wind Energy Project located southeast of Olympia in Thurston and Lewis counties. 

The City will devote all of the dollars spent on electricity to fund this wind project, which is slated to start producing power in 2019. Currently, the City subscribes to PSE’s entire portfolio of power sources, which include wind, coal, hydro and natural gas. When this project is complete, the City’s Municipal Buildings will be powered 100% by wind, making our electrical carbon footprint zero! 

In a presentation given by PSE, it was shown that because wind is not a commodity and has no fluctuating price, it will be a steady, predictable cost, while, hopefully re-ceiving increasing credit over time. This is great news for the City, whose water treatment plant alone uses a tremendous amount of power – 13 million kWh per year – with its other facilities using around 2 million kWh per year. The amount of power we will be buying from the wind plant is in excess of 15 million kilowatts, which is roughly equivalent to the power harnessed by one windmill. 

The greatest news is, of course, that investing in alternative, renewable energy sources is a priority for our city, and the move to becoming a carbon-neutral municipality is a reality. 

“Environmentally, it’s the right thing to do,” said Buckenmeyer. “We’re proud to lead by example.” 

To find out more about Green Direct or this project, feel free to contact the Public Works Department 360-293-1919,.

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