Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Cultural and Environmental Resource Management

Committee Chair

Michael Pease

Second Committee Member

Elvin Delgado

Third Committee Member

Pamela McMullin-Messier


Between 2010 and 2018, Kittitas County, Washington faced an influx of Solar Power Production Facility (SPPF) proposals that challenged its traditional rural land management governance. Despite state support of decarbonized energy, variegated interpretations of project permitting procedures induced heated contentions amongst stakeholders. To explore this, this research constructs a multijurisdictional legal framework for SPPF advancement. It uses these laws to divulge the permitting processes of three case study projects founded in Kittitas County’s renewable energy history: The Wild Horse Wind Facility, the Iron Horse Solar Project, and the Columbia Solar Projects. Through a mixed methodology of project archival analysis and policy effectiveness testing, this research applies ideas of collaborative landscape governance to identify and address procedural contentions.

This thesis asserts that past and current management processes remain insufficient to effectively manage SPPFs in Kittitas County. Although the county updated its code with new SPPF guidelines, additional tactics are needed to improve the procedural process. Effective SPPF management is necessary as Washington State’s decarbonization requirements become increasingly stringent. Therefore, this work coalesces its findings with that of other successful SPPF management projects to recommend collaborative governance strategies for Kittitas County. It concludes that clear SPPF siting, community-centric development, facilitated permitting deliberations and creative land use development solutions could play a pivotal role in an effective collaboration-based SPPF management scheme.