Articles from Oregon

Oregon Supreme Court ruling could alter energy projects

Nathan Baker, staff attorney for Friends of the Columbia Gorge, said that his group's primary concern was that the way the rules were adopted shut out the public and made it difficult for citizens to participate. "That's never a good thing," he said. "There needs to be transparency and an open public process."
19 Jan 2020

Giant wind farm nears approval for new, longer blades

Caithness is asking for permission to “repower” the three units of the Shepherds Flat wind farm, which totals 238 turbines in Gilliam and Morrow counties. The Energy Facility Siting Council late last month posted a proposed order backing the move for one of the units, along with draft orders for the other two units.
2 Jan 2020

Idaho needs more power but parts of Oregon object

About 900 new plants, most of which produce renewable energy, were proposed last year, compared with 300 in 2004, said Glenn McGrath, an analyst with the federal agency. “Regardless of where you go, there’s always some issues—whether it’s bats, whether it’s birds, whether it’s wealthy landowners who don’t want their view interrupted,” said Dan Shreve, wind-energy research director at consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. “As a consequence, you see these initiatives drag on forever.”
30 Dec 2019

Oregon State study says wind turbines threaten migrating bats

"This and direct collisions with the turbines has resulted in millions of bat deaths over the last two decades," said Rodhouse. Oregon and Washington have 3,600 wind turbines that generating capacity of 6,300 megawatts. Most wind farms are clustered near the Columbia River Gorge. Others are near Ellensburg and Walla Walla in Washington and Baker City in Oregon.
22 Sep 2019

Hoary bat numbers decline amid wind turbine expansion

Oregon and Washington combined have 3,600 wind turbines with 6,300 megawatts of installed generating capacity. In both states, the majority of the wind farms are clustered near the Columbia River Gorge, east of The Dalles. Other farms in the region can be found near Ellensburg and Walla Walla in Washington, and Baker City in Oregon. While collisions with the propellers on wind farms cause many of the deaths, barotrauma is another problem.
22 Sep 2019

Construction to begin on wind farm near Bridger after approval

The project, originally called the Mud Springs Wind Ranch Project, has been renamed the Pryor Mountain Wind Project. The project changed hands several times before Pacificorp bought the farm from Sunrise Wind Holdings LLC in May. The 114-turbine farm will connect with an existing Pacificorp 230-kilovolt transmission line in Park County, Wyoming. The turbines will reach about 454 feet tall at the high point of the blades. 
12 Sep 2019

Oregon Supreme Court says the state improperly shut the public out of deciding where to place energy facilities

Friends of the Columbia Gorge said in a statement that the ruling is likely to affect two projects: a wind farm along the Deschutes River and a natural gas-powered electrical generating plant in Umatilla County, both of which the group says benefited from the 2017 rule change the court now says was improper. "As a result of today's ruling, the permission to build two specific projects has now expired," Friends said.
4 Aug 2019

Oregon Supreme Court ruling could nix permits for big energy projects

An Oregon Supreme Court ruling could bring an end to permits for two big energy projects in Eastern Oregon and eight more statewide. The Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council in October 2017 adopted a swifter, less public method to amend permits, or site certificates, for wind farms, thermal power plants and other large energy facilities. While the traditional “type A” review process involved public notices and hearings, the new “type B” process cut out the public involvement, including allowing interested parties to request a contested case proceeding. Type B also required staff to issue decisions as soon as possible.
3 Aug 2019

Oregon Supreme Court Invalidates Energy Council's Rules for Modifying Power Plants

Today the Oregon Supreme Court held in favor of a coalition of nine conservation organizations, invalidating rules adopted in 2017 by the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) that had dramatically reduced transparency and discouraged public participation in permitting decisions for large power plants throughout Oregon. Today’s legal victory is also expected to terminate the previously issued permits for two controversial power projects, the Summit Ridge Wind Farm proposed in Wasco County, along the Deschutes river, and the Perennial Wind Chaser Station, a natural gas power plant proposed in Umatilla County.
1 Aug 2019

Wind project draws fire

More than a dozen citizens asked the Wasco County Commission April 3 not to submit a letter of support it wrote for the Summit Ridge wind project east of Dufur. The commission opted to table the matter.
13 Apr 2019

Oregon wind developer contemplates super-tall turbines

The company said in its site amendment filing that it "proposes to update turbine dimensions to reflect current technology it anticipates using for facility construction." Because each turbine would produce more power — up to 4.2 megawatts apiece — the change could allow it to deploy fewer turbines, the company noted.
14 Sep 2018

Wind turbine sparks grass fire

A malfunctioning wind turbine sparked a grass fire near Arlington that burned about 2,000 acres on Thursday. Joe Claughton, North Gilliam Rural Fire Protection District chief, said no buildings were burned, but two railroad trestles caught on fire. The fire started about half a mile from milepost 3 on Highway 19 by Rattlesnake Road.
4 Aug 2018

Native birds face legal threats, in Oregon and beyond

... biggest impact to birds in Central and Eastern Oregon would likely be from wind turbines, thanks to the presence of several large wind energy projects in Eastern Oregon. Miller, a member of the East Cascade Audubon Society, said wind turbines disproportionately harm raptors, including falcons and golden eagles, relative to other human-made threats such as cars and power lines.
11 Feb 2018

Tillamook transmission line proposal meets with controversy

The 8.6-mile line would cross farmland and forestland, drawing opposition from landowners in its path who worry about impediments to agriculture and logging. Opponents argue that a new transmission line between Tillamook and Oceanside isn’t justified by actual electricity demand, but may instead be intended as a connection to future wave power or offshore wind energy projects.
27 Dec 2017

PacifiCorp facing regulatory blowback on wind power plans

Staff advisers at Oregon's utility regulator threw cold water on PacifiCorp's plan to spend $3.5 billion, one of its biggest upgrades ever, on wind turbines and a new transmission line. The Public Utility Commission staff say the utility had failed to justify the need for the massive capital investments, whether to meet its capacity, energy or reliability needs.
11 Oct 2017

Eastern Oregon wind power heats up with new project

Capital Power Corporation this month filed a notice of intent with the state’s Energy Facility Siting Council to seek a site certificate for the Nolin Hills Wind Power Project, capable of producing up to 350 megawatts of power. It would be located about 10 miles west of Pendleton.
18 Sep 2017

State regulators push back on PGE's green energy plan

Bottom line, staff and the ratepayer groups contend that PGE simply doesn't need another wind farm right now, particularly in the Gorge. Wind farms produce lots of energy, but they are inherently unpredictable, meaning they can't be relied on to fill the capacity ...During the region's recent heat wave. wind farms in the Gorge were often producing little to no electricity.
12 Aug 2017

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