Library from Oregon
Wednesday's letter was signed by Seattle Audubon, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Conservation Northwest, the American Bird Conservancy and the Gifford Pinchot Task Force. It said the Fish and Wildlife Service made "multiple factual errors" in its earlier finding. Among them: The agency implied that the owl documented in 2010 in the vicinity of the project was detected only three times.
The Navy has shut down wind projects near the bombing range in the past. The Horn Butte project in Gilliam County, for example, was midway through its permitting process when the Navy, via the Federal Aviation Administration, issued a “no build” order. McLane said the turbines in the Echo Wind Project somehow flew under the Navy radar because of a change in the federal review process.
The county commission, called the Morrow County Court, voted 2-1 that although noise from the Willow Creek wind project exceeds state standards at a few homes, the violations did not warrant enforcement action.
The Morrow County Court stunned a crowd Wednesday when it refused to enforce an Oregon law that limits the noise a wind project can make at nearby homes. The court voted 2-1 that, although noise from the Willow Creek wind project exceeds state standards at a few homes, the violations did not warrant enforcement action.
"This is a blatant attempt to manipulate and avoid the Idaho commission's rates, rules and regulations that are designed to implement PURPA and protect Idaho Power's customers," the company states in its petition to the PUC. The developers argue that the PUC is prohibited by federal law from regulating qualifying PURPA projects.
Paying negative prices would reduce BPA's surplus power sales, which would ultimately increase its own customers' rates. BPA contends its customers shouldn't have to subsidize California ratepayers, since most wind power is sold out of state. BPA has curtailed some 100,000 megawatt hours of electricity from wind farms so far this year.
At night and on weekends, when demand was low, the Bonneville Power Administration ordered wind farms to shut down, saying there was more electricity than the region needed or could export.
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has curtailed wind electricity generation in the region by about 7 percent over the last seven weeks in an effort to balance the extra hydropower being generated from an unusually large amount of melting snowpack.
"Wind and other energy facilities" producing more than a megawatt is charged $5,000 plus $1,000 for each wind turbine. The county also is increasing a yearly renewal fee, especially for commercial wind energy facilities, from $50 to $500.
"While we understand the board had a difficult decision to make, we are disappointed in the outcomes and the process," she said. "The impacts of the code amendment will vary from project to project but overall I can anticipate less economic development in the county from renewable energy development."
In the decision to change wind siting rules Tuesday, the Umatilla County Commissioners did something new and unique: They quartered off an area with tougher restrictions, essentially keeping wind turbines out of the Walla Walla River watershed.
"We were trying to set standards that would be a protection for the environment but also the citizens. Umatilla County is unique in our landscape, we have a number of critical streams in our mountains and some very erodible soils in some area and we don't want to create issues that could damage those."
After years of work and months of meetings, the Umatilla County commissioners approved changes to the county's rules deciding where and how wind farms can be built. ...Commissioners Dennis Doherty and Larry Givens approved of the two-mile distance between a rural home and a wind turbine.
Currently, projects can receive tax credits worth up to 50%. The new legislation scraps this element of the program and instead provides grants. The budget for the entire program is limited to $3 million, which does not make much of a dent when dealing with large projects that can cost millions of dollars.
The wide, green gorge where the majestic Columbia River begins its final push to the sea generates so many stiff breezes that windsurfers from around the world make their way to Hood River, not far from here, to ply their colorful sails atop the churning whitecaps.
Wind developers are federally subsidized with tax credits and they are asking the BPA to pay for those credits temporarily lost during curtailment. This would amount to customers of public utilities paying private investors to stop producing electricity when it isn’t needed. BPA already gives these producers free hydropower to compensate for power deliveries they give up when production is curbed.
Since May 18, BPA has ordered wind generators to shut down several hours a day, usually in the low-power-demand nighttime hours. The result so far has been the loss of 74,114 megawatt hours of wind energy, or about 15% of what the wind farms might normally have generated.
On Tuesday, the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners will hold another meeting analyzing possible changes to the rules allowing wind farms in the county. The board has spent three previous meetings pouring over the changes proposed by the planning commission.
Oregon's practice of channeling ever higher sums of taxpayer dollars into big wind farms and other green energy projects appears to be coming to an end in favor of thriftier and more targeted conservation incentives.
The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals has asked the Morrow County Court to take another look at its decision regarding the Willow Creek wind farm and its neighbors. The court ruled in January that the 48-turbine project near Ione exceeded the state's noise control rule at one nearby home.