The Summit Ridge Wind Farm was granted a site certificate by the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC or Council) on August 19, 2011. The applicant now seeks a 4th amendment to the certificate that extends the start construction timeline another two years. A host of objections have been raised about the project. This page includes comments by K. Shawn Smallwood PhD outlining environmental concerns with the project’s wildlife surveys and analysis. The Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Oregon Wild, and others present their own comments. The procedural background information and an excerpt of the comments filed with the Council are provided below. The full documents can be downloaded from the links on this page.
Documents filed under Impact on Wildlife from Oregon
In this petition, the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and Audubon Society of Portland (Portland Audubon) seek revocation of a federal right of way that would permit construction of the North Steens 230-kV Transmission Line needed to deliver wind energy from a wind facility proposed for Steens Mountain in Oregon. A portion of the petition is provided below. The full petition can be downloaded from the links on this page.
This important report prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bend Field Office was submitted to the Energy Facility Siting Officer of the Oregon Department of Energy in reference to the proposed Summit Ridge Wind project. The project to be located in Wasco County Oregon, will include up to 87 wind turbines for a total generating capacity of approximately 200 megawatts. While much of the project site is agricultural land used for dry land winter wheat production, the proposed facility would be built on land one to four miles west of the Deschutes River Canyon extending from river mile 7 on the north end of the project boundary to river mile 31 on the south end. The Service expresses its concern regarding short and long-term Project impacts to migratory birds including bald and golden eagles and bats. Golden eagles, large stick nests, and bald eagles were recently documented in the project vicinity.
The Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and five other conservation groups released this report in response to the growing pressure to site renewable energy projects on open desert land in Oregon. While the ONDA supports renewable energy development and believes that such development can help reduce fossil fuel consumption and create sustainable economies for rural communities, the organization sees an urgent need to analyze where wind power potential is the highest and wildlife and social conflicts are the lowest. The analysis is important in ensuring projects can be developed without degradation of desert wildlands and damage to sensitive wildlife populations. This report was created through the mapping and analysis of the areas identified by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory as having the best wind power potential. This data is compared with sensitive natural resources such as Greater sage-grouse breeding areas. The report includes a narrative outlining the nature of the potential conflicts with wind energy development as well as Best Practices and guidelines to minimize impacts.