This important report prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bend Field Office was submitted to the Energy Facility Siting Officer of the Oregon Department of Energy in reference to the proposed Summit Ridge Wind project. The project to be located in Wasco County Oregon, will include up to 87 wind turbines for a total generating capacity of approximately 200 megawatts. While much of the project site is agricultural land used for dry land winter wheat production, the proposed facility would be built on land one to four miles west of the Deschutes River Canyon extending from river mile 7 on the north end of the project boundary to river mile 31 on the south end. The Service expresses its concern regarding short and long-term Project impacts to migratory birds including bald and golden eagles and bats. Golden eagles, large stick nests, and bald eagles were recently documented in the project vicinity.
Renewable energy on the Pacific Northwest's electricity grid has increased substantially over the years, and this is leading to a number of problems. For the Pacific Northwest, renewable
energy expansion truly means wind energy expansion because it is the closest to being market-competitive of all renewable energy sources. Wind power, like hydroelectric power, is clean (i.e., carbon-free in its production), and this remains a large part of policymakers' attraction to wind. While the negative aspects of wind power are apparent, they are often overlooked. Ever increasing wind generation will have a significant impact on the reliability and affordability of electricity in the Pacific Northwest that very well might outweigh any of the claimed environmental benefits. This consise report by the Cascade Policy Institute examines the costs and impacts of wind power integration in the Pacific Northwest.
Wind energy on the Pacific Northwest’s electricity grid has increased substantially. Often overlooked are the impacts of increasing wind generation on the reliability and affordability of electricity that very well might outweigh any of the promised environmental benefits. Todd Wynn and Eric Lowe explain how in Oregon wind power simply replaces a clean, reliable and affordable source of energy: hydroelectricity while inviting increased price volatility, increased rates, and the prospect of more greenhouse gas-emitting facilities.
The Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and five other conservation groups released this report in response to the growing pressure to site renewable energy projects on open desert land in Oregon. While the ONDA supports renewable energy development and believes that such development can help reduce fossil fuel consumption and create sustainable economies for rural communities, the organization sees an urgent need to analyze where wind power potential is the highest and wildlife and social conflicts are the lowest. The analysis is important in ensuring projects can be developed without degradation of desert wildlands and damage to sensitive wildlife populations.
This report was created through the mapping and analysis of the areas identified by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory as having the best wind power potential. This data is compared with sensitive natural resources such as Greater sage-grouse breeding areas. The report includes a narrative outlining the nature of the potential conflicts with wind energy development as well as Best Practices and guidelines to minimize impacts.
Letter sent to the Oregon Department of Energy by First Wind (UPC Wind) announcing the company's withdrawal of the application for site certification on the Cascade Wind facility.
The official OR-OSHA report on the August 2007 turbine collapse at the Klondike III wind facility in Oregon can be accessed below. Siemens Power Generation, Inc. was fined $10,500 and cited in part for failing to properly train personnel.
The Role of Wind Energy in a Power Supply Portfolio
....Wind is primarily an energy resource that makes relatively little contribution to meeting system peak loads. Even with large amounts of wind, the Northwest will still need to build other generating resources to meet growing peak load requirements.......But wind energy cannot provide reliable electric service on its own.
When wind energy is added to a utility system, its natural variability and uncertainty is combined with the natural variability and uncertainty of loads. This increases the need for flexible resources such as hydro, gas-fired power plants, or dispatchable loads to maintain utility system balance and reliability across several different timescales. The demand for this flexibility increases with the amount of wind in the system.
Editor's Note Presented on October 20th during the 2006 Electric Market Forecasting Conference sponsored by EPIS, Inc. this addresses, in part, the issue of whether emissions are reduced with the addition of industrial wind energy. This is a large pdf file (8.55MB) and is available via the weblink below.