Library from Oregon

Project pits green energy vs. wildlife

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking the project developers to make up for the lost habitat, and Horizon project manager Valerie Franklin says that means finding conservation easements for 35,000 acres of neighboring lands, which she estimates would cost the company $145 million.
9 Jun 2011

The challenges of managing too much wind power

We have begun to pay developers to build generation irrespective of an electrical need for the generation. This only worsens the electric generation imbalance ...replacing wind generation with hydropower, while keeping the power system in balance, does not keep the financial incentives in balance.
27 May 2011

Don't stick ratepayers when green power fails

Tax breaks to encourage wind power are only justified -- if they're justified at all -- when renewable energy replaces electricity produced by a dirtier source. ...With so much water in the rivers, BPA's only alternative would have been to curtail hydroelectric production to make room on the transmission system for wind power.
24 May 2011

Siting council frustrated by turbine laws

People living near the proposed project who came to the meeting agreed. They said they were glad to see the council deliberating their concerns, but after a daylong meeting, they saw the need for changing the laws. "The public comment that's been put on the table in this is eye-opening," said Beyeler.
21 May 2011

BPA's wind power cutoff sends a troubling signal

BPA will likely be tied up in court over wind power -- a bad outcome when we need more momentum for renewable energy development. We need a fresh look by our political leadership at federal and state incentives that got all the wind developments here in the first place -- production tax credits and renewable energy credits can account for as much as 50 percent of a wind farm's revenues.
20 May 2011

River rises; Northwest wind farms, plants cut back

For five hours Wednesday the Pacific Northwest was running green, almost all of its electricity coming from hydroelectric dams ...But it could also be a blow to the region's burgeoning wind industry. The Bonneville Power Administration followed through on a plan to shut down most of the region's power generation except that from dams now running at full capacity.
18 May 2011

Noise a tough topic at wind farm rules meeting

Price was worried: If all these wind turbines surrounded him, would the noise grow and grow? The state limit on sound is 36 decibels. That's the loudest the sound can be at a person's home and is the benchmark a wind company must meet before being approved by the state.
17 May 2011

Northwest electricity manager warns wind farms that power surplus may force them to shut down

The Bonneville Power Administration has more than enough electricity during a cold, wet spring that has created a big surge in river flows where hydroelectric dams are located. The agency responded by announcing its intentions to curtail wind power until the grid has more capacity, in a move likely to cost the industry millions of dollars.
13 May 2011

Northwest wind power to double but inconsistency creates grid nightmare

Even the lower end of the range -- which assumes no development for California -- is a substantial amount of power, and would exacerbate transmission issues and volatility in wholesale power prices. Wind development has already outstripped growth in regional demand. And an already clogged transmission system means the energy generated can't always be exported.
6 May 2011

Islanders claim turbines devalue homes

A potentially precedent-setting tax assessment hearing began on Wolfe Island on Wednesday for a couple claiming that noise and lights from nearby wind turbines have lowered their property value. Lawyers from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation and the Township of Frontenac Islands are opposing the claim made by islanders Ed and Gail Kenney.
6 May 2011

County lowers turbine setbacks to one mile

The latest draft of wind rules commissioners reviewed Tuesday listed one mile from an unincorporated community, one mile from a home outside a wind project boundary and a half mile from inside the boundary. For cities, it stated, "setbacks from tower to the city urban growth boundary considered if requested by a city governing body."
4 May 2011

New rules kick up passionate debate

Severe implored the Umatilla County Commission to consider "the silent majority" of landowners who live near wind projects. They may refuse the developers' ever-increasing offers of money for a noise easement but in the end the turbines come anyway, only a bit farther away.
20 Mar 2011

The cost of green: Huge eastern Oregon wind farm raises big questions about state, federal subsidies

Stacking federal, state and county subsidies is perfectly legal. But the result is that taxpayers who subsidize a project may bear a greater burden for development than the company that profits from it. For Shepherds Flat, for instance, federal, state and local subsidies total more than $1.2 billion, about 65 percent of its $1.9 billion cost, according to a White House memo.
13 Mar 2011

Shepherds Flat wind farm: What's the cost to taxpayers?

So just how much does a wind farm job cost taxpayers? The answer depends on the formula, and involves an implicit assumption that the jobs wouldn't exist without the subsidy -- questionable in the case of Oregon's large wind farms. Either way, the simplest formula for Shepherds Flat, with $1.2 billion in subsidies for 35 permanent jobs, that equation delivers a cost per job of $34 million.
13 Mar 2011
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