Finally! It has taken The Herald several weeks to highlight the failure of the Snohomish Public Utility District’s project to tap geothermal power in the Cascade range. (Monday article, “Geothermal energy project a bust after drilling hits bedrock.”) The PUD apparently made a decision to abandon the project during spring 2012. Those wasted funds are in excess of $3.4 million.
More studies and analyses could have shown that the project was too risky for an organization like the PUD. Even the state of Washington is not willing to take such costly risks.
The PUD senior staff and the elected Board of Commissioners have led the organization to waste funds on projects with significant risk. Over the last few years, the PUD has wasted funds on projects which are not appropriately studied and planned.
The next costly PUD project that will suffer the same fate is probably the Tidal Project in the Admiralty Inlet — the main entrance to Puget Sound between Whidbey Island and the Olympic Peninsula. This project calls for the installation of several turbines below the surface of the water, which would generate electricity for about 1,000 homes.
There has been no positive information or news published to the PUD customer-owners. It may be that the project has already been abandoned. Perhaps the public will get information by fall 2012.
Enough is enough. This only touches the surface of wasted funds by the PUD. Now is the time to make some changes in leadership (or the lack of it) at the PUD. We the customer-owners of the utility would be better served by professionals who have the intellectual capacity to conduct studies, analyses, planning, to develop less costly and risky projects.
Perhaps we can start by supporting either Mr. David Swanson or Mr. Eric Teagarden, both candidates for PUD Commissioner. One of them should replace the incumbent who has been in office for almost 18 years. Immediate changes should start at the top. Other changes should follow.
Ignacio Castro, Jr.