Library from Washington

Petition for Judicial Review of BPA Interconnection Approval: Whistling Ridge Energy Project

15-72788_opening_brief_filed_stamped_3-29-16_thumb Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Save Our Scenic Area have petitioned the court to review Bonneville Power Administration’s ("BPA") June 24, 2015 Record of Decision (“ROD”) approving the interconnection of the Whistling Ridge Energy Project to BPA’s electricity transmission system, based on BPA’s analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). This detailed brief filed on behalf of the groups provides an informative description of the circumstances surrounding BPA's decision and how the petitioners argue the NEPA provisions were incorrectly applied. A portion of the brief is provided below. The full document as filed with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals can be accessed by clicking the link on this page. 
3 Apr 2016

Whistling Ridge faces new legal challenge; Petition seeks to block BPA decision to allow wind farm on grid

A new petition filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals aims to block a recent decision by the Bonneville Power Administration allowing the Whistling Ridge Energy Project to connect to the regional power grid. The challenge argues that BPA didn’t adequately review the impacts of the wind farm before making its decision. The action adds more uncertainty to a project that has lingered in limbo for years. 
19 Sep 2015

Groups appeal BPA’s approval of Whistling Ridge

Environmental groups Friends of the Columbia Gorge (Friends) and Save Our Scenic Area (SOSA) filed a petition for judicial review in the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week challenging a recent decision by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to approve the Whistling Ridge Energy Project’s application to connect to BPA’s energy grid.
15 Sep 2015

Wind energy gets blown away by shifting patterns in the West

The government's Energy Information Administration detailed the findings earlier this month in a study that showed falling wind energy production in California, Oregon and Washington state — typically known as a bastion for clean energy development. The agency didn't say how the wind energy slump would affect the electric grid, but it did say it could hinder wind farms from taking advantage of a key federal tax subsidy and harm their economic viability. Clean energy companies rely on the subsidy to fund projects. ...Even small changes in wind speed can dramatically reduce electricity output from wind turbines.
20 Aug 2015

Study predicts bird deaths at wind farms

It can be difficult to know exactly how many bird deaths a proposed wind farm may cause while it’s still under review, New said. The only way to know for sure is to build it and observe it, she said. But by then, it’s unlikely that the problem will be fixed. “You’re not going to take it down and move it if you’ve built it in the wrong place,” New said.
3 Aug 2015

State Supreme Court: Skamania County in violation of GMA

In 2012, the county repealed the moratorium for all but 4,500 acres of the area. That’s when Save Our Scenic Area and Friends of the Columbia Gorge filed the lawsuit. The entire moratorium eventually lapsed. Shortly after the moratorium was repealed, the county approved plans for the Whistling Ridge Energy Project, a wind farm just outside the Gorge scenic area boundary near Underwood.
13 Jun 2015

Green energy from the Columbia Gorge proving costly to Cowlitz PUD ratepayers

On the plus side, the $130 million investment means the PUD satisfies state renewable energy requirements through 2027 under current law. But there’s the tiny matter of wind farms running a $1 million-per-month loss, with no profits projected anytime soon, thanks to a depressed market for the power. It’s like owning a rental home in an area with too many rentals and not enough renters and having to lease for a price that doesn’t cover your costs.
4 Apr 2015

Comments to BPA regarding Whistling Ridge Energy Project

Commentsfriends-sosawhistlingridgeenergyproject_thumb Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Save Our Scenic Area, two non-profit conservation advocacy organizations missioned with protecting the Columbia River Gorge region, provided these comprehensive comments to the Bonneville Power Administration in reference to the proposed Whistling Ridge Wind Energy project. The project, owned by SDS Lumber Company, would consist of 50, 1.2 to 1.5 MW turbines. The opening portion and conclusion of the letter is provided below. The full comment letter can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
3 Jul 2014

Wind energy of no use in the Pacific Northwest

Bpa-load-graph-jan2014_thumb 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.
18 Jan 2014

Rule forces us to ask how much the wind costs

The region now has a wind power capacity, on paper, of 4,500 megawatts. That is certainly a lot. The law requires large utilities to obtain 15 percent renewables by 2020. All this windy carbonless renewability raises some reasonable questions, such as: How much? Who pays? Is there a better way? Are we actually reducing our carbon footprint, or are we covering Eastern Washington with windmills and raising our electric rates for not much environmental gain? I would like to know.
26 Sep 2013

Whistling Ridge plan is unneeded nonstarter

The future of this controversial project remains in limbo even after the court's decision, with important decisions yet to be made by state and federal agencies, no apparent market for the relatively small amount of energy the project might produce, and the phasing out of wind energy tax breaks and subsidies.
11 Sep 2013
back to top