Articles from Oregon
A woman crashed her car at the bottom of a wind turbine outside Helix, and an emergency helicopter rushed her to a hospital. But plenty of questions remain about the crash and the victim.
Interviews and an examination of thousands of pages of documents show that state officials wrongly awarded millions in state tax credits, turning a blind eye to phony documents. The project also was dogged by an international trade war, a bitter corporate rivalry and a stunning twist that traded high-paid Oregon jobs for prison labor at 93 cents an hour.
All of these policies are going to make it more costly to produce gasoline and diesel. In fact, that's the intended purpose of so-called "market-based" schemes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By making the energy we need and use every day more costly to produce, other energy supplies — like wind, solar, biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells — will become more competitive.
“People think there’s some farmer going out and turning these things (wind turbines) on, but it’s actually huge corporations, and my concern is that they are so intent on getting what they want they’re not looking at everything,” he said. “These are tiny dots of towns out here, with no expert city staff or attorneys."
The West Coast, meanwhile, has lost some of its renewable energy luster. It was once one of the fastest growing markets for wind turbines as utilities in Oregon, Washington and California rushed to meet their respective states' renewable energy mandates. But that growth has slowed as utilities achieved initial state targets and California switched its focus to solar.
The developer will relocate the turbines, which are part of the 535MW Brush Canyon wind farm, due to the navy's concerns over the obstruction of flight paths from the nearby Boardman naval weapons systems training facility.
A bill designed to shield Oregon's renewable energy mandates from a potentially game-changing ballot measure sailed through the Senate's Business and Transportation Committee Tuesday, even as opponents called it a back-room deal hatched to benefit industry insiders and ignore average citizens. ...Irene Gilbert said the bill circumvents the opportunity for citizens negatively impacted by the renewable mandates to have a say in what is counted toward meeting them.
A recent influx of power-hungry data centers is pushing smaller Eastern Oregon utilities closer to large-utility status. Faced with the prospect of complying with the tougher standards, a lobbyist for the Umatilla Electric Cooperative has been collecting signatures for a ballot measure that would allow Umatilla and other consumer-owned utilities to get around the mandates.
After months of behind-the-scenes arm-twisting, Oregon legislators gave their initial blessing to a compromise bill that lets small, publicly owned electric utilities off the hook – temporarily -- for required investments in renewable energy projects. PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric initially didn't like that option, as it sets up a two-tiered system for compliance with state mandates and potentially puts them at a disadvantage in attracting energy intensive new customers. But they forced a quid pro quo in the bargain.
A Seattle company is being given the green light to develop plans to build the West Coast's first offshore wind energy farm. The 30-megawatt pilot project was announced at a press conference by Gov. John Kitzhaber. "It's not going to be economic out of the gate," Beaudreau said. ..."We're hoping to learn from this... whether it justifies wrecking prime fishing ground, displacing people and jobs."
The developer of a proposed wind farm in Eastern Oregon is trying to find regional utilities interested in buying the power. Chicago-based Invenergy LLC plans to build as many as 280 wind turbines on private land east of Heppner. The farm could generate 500 megawatts of electricity.
Over the last several years the Pacific Northwest spent about $5 billion and impacted over 50,000 acres of pristine public land for the privilege of throwing away 9 billion kWhrs of carbon-free energy every year. Just so we can meet an arbitrary state mandate, claim we’re green, and make a few folks lots of money in tax credits, the cost of which gets passed onto the rate-payers and tax-payers.
A small group of public utilities led by Umatilla Electric Cooperative asked the Legislature last year to change the definition of qualifying resources under the law to include the region’s massive supply of hydropower. Umatilla is close to going over the three percent threshold, triggering the stiffer requirements. Including hydro resources would let it off the compliance hook.
Could a small electrical cooperative in eastern Oregon up-end the state's renewable energy law? That's the question being asked as the Umatilla Electric Cooperative essentially tells legislators: Fix the renewable energy standards to satisfy our concerns or we'll put an initiative on the ballot that largely guts the law.
Seeking to curb how much power it must buy from the Stateline Wind Project in Umatilla and Walla Walla counties, the utility earlier this month sued J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp., a branch of New York-based J.P. Morgan, which owns the contract requiring EWEB to buy power from Stateline through 2026.
A transformer caught fire at the base of a Bigelow Canyon wind turbine over the weekend, spilling an estimated 600 gallons of transformer oil. A representative of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) spills unit reported that PGE, the owner of the wind farm, reported the fire and hired SMF Environmental to clean up the spill.
EDP's project manager for Antelope Ridge, said the withdrawal was "100 percent a business decision." The company faced a considerable investment to proceed with its site certificate, and didn't see a clear path to sell the power at this point.
The energy department has a task immediately ahead before yet another legislative hearing on the subject: It must tell lawmakers, who represent the Oregonians who underwrite incentive programs such as the BETC, whether Shepherds Flat got a deal too good to be true and whether it knows the right questions are being asked of an energy-producing applicant.
The application for the Antelope Ridge wind farm has been withdrawn. No explanation for the withdrawal was included in a letter sent to the Department of Energy earlier this week, and Union County Commissioner Steve McClure says they haven't received any details from the company.
Shepherds Flat's three LLCs share a common parent company, Caithness Shepherd's Flat LLC. Caithness Shepherd's Flat LLC, in turn, is owned by the project developer, Caithness Energy, its turbine supplier, General Electric, and three investors brought in to harvest the project's tax benefits - Google, Itochu and Sumitomo of America. "I don't know how much more common ownership you could have."