Library from Oregon
And the Antelope Ridge wind farm is anything but discreet: 164 spinning turbines each up to 475 feet tall would be strung across more than 40,000 mountainous acres at a cost of about $600 million. Not surprisingly, this bucolic piece of Oregon is torn up about it.
"So the wind parties are basically saying we have this production tax credit, so if you displace us with your hydropower, you ought to pay us. The situation is then, if we do pay them is that Northwest rate payers in effect would be paying for a production tax credit that Congress intended the US taxpayer to pay because it happened nationally.
"You can't imagine the stress it's caused," said Dennis Wilkinson of Cove, organizer of Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley, a political action group that opposes the Antelope Ridge project. He attended the Pendleton listening session, which drew about 30 people. Due largely to his group's efforts, Union County voters formally opposed construction of Antelope Ridge by a slim 52 percent to 48 percent vote in Tuesday's general election.
Douglas replied that her agency is dealing with a complicated issue and wants to look at many factors. "We'll take a good look at it, and analyze it. We are charged with assessing the risk to human health and we're going to stay focused on that."
He said the vote will "resonate throughout the country proving that people in rural communities are standing up to the foreign corporations that are attempting to destroy the land, way of life, wildlife, health and more in the name of ‘clean, renewable energy.'"
The county gave the wind farm operator six months to come into compliance. Neither side of the noise debate is pleased. The wind farm neighbors don't want to wait six months or more for peace and quiet. The energy company says it intends to keep generating wind power while it pursues its legal options.
The Oregon State Health Department has decided it is time to look into possible human health effects from industrial wind turbines. They have announced their steering committee will be comprised of wind farm developers, community members, the Department of Energy and Oregon's energy facility siting council, which oversees new industrial wind facility locations.
The countywide vote on wind power is advisory only. Authority over large energy projects actually rests with state government in Oregon and Washington. A spokeswoman for Oregon's permitting agency says the election outcome will be treated like a public comment. Texas-based Horizon Wind Energy has bankrolled a vigorous "yes" campaign.
The growing number of wind farms has led to more complaints about their health effects, said Sujata Joshi, an epidemiologist in the environmental public health office. Health concerns raised to date focus on noise and vibration generated by the huge turbines. The assessment will start with the listening sessions.
The Oregonian reported that radar settings at the Fossil surveillance station, opened in 1958, were tweaked in September to reduce interference. an official said the station will be a key test site for the military on technological upgrades designed to address interference problems that have threatened to stall wind energy projects nationwide.
Radar settings at the Fossil surveillance station, opened in 1958, were tweaked in September to reduce interference. The station will also be the military's key test site for technological upgrades designed to address interference problems.
Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that the Oregon Department of Energy allow wind turbines no closer than 6 miles to a golden eagle nest. The letter concerned the Summit Ridge wind farm in Wasco County, being developed by LotusWorks of Vancouver, Wash.
"New regulatory developments affecting the entire wind energy industry made it unlikely that we will be able to complete a transaction on the timeline both PGE and RES Americas had expected, so our request for a waiver is no longer necessary."
But with more than two dozen new Oregon or Washington wind farms under construction or in the permitting stage, the BPA may soon be compromising the reliability of its hydropower facilities, said Doug Johnson, a spokesman for the agency. The BPA expects that by 2012 its capacity will fall short of the required reserve amount. "The more wind that comes onto the grid, the harder it becomes to balance those resources with our hydropower."
“The service believes the project, including all turbines, transmission and roads, and associated facilities has the potential to result in injury and mortality of individual eagles and potential loss of nest sites over the life of the project,” wrote Nancy Gilbert, USFWS field supervisor, in the Sept. 20 report.
Bob Jenks, executive director of the Citizen's Utility Board of Oregon is concerned whether PGE has the financial wherewithal to build a such a large wind farm while pursuing other projects, including a transmission line it has proposed across the Cascades and the possible need for replacement generation if it goes ahead with an early shutdown of its coal-fired power plant near Boardman.
The same storms also brought wind. Bonneville has added 5,000 megawatts of wind power in the last few years, and it is mostly concentrated in the Columbia River Gorge in what is known as the "wind ghetto." As a result, at any given moment, almost all of the wind machines in Bonneville's territory are either running or not running. In June, they were running.
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.
Jed Farmer has become accustomed to seeing elk raise their young in the foothills. Soon, however, those foothills could be covered in turbines, driving elk into the valley floor's farms, where they will most likely be shot by property owners, Farmer said. Farmer, a member of the Union County Planning Commission, regrets voting yes to Elkhorn Valley. He recently joined Wilkinson's group Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley.
The Columbia River Gorge is one of the few remaining places in the nation where some of the Lewis and Clark landscape remains today as it existed more than two centuries ago. Every year a little bit of that beauty is sliced off to allow man-made blights. This means we must witness the slow extinction of the grandeur of the Gorge.