Articles filed under Safety from Oregon

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

Wyden says Fossil radar holding back wind energy

An outdated Air Force radar in Fossil is holding back nearly 4,000 megawatts of proposed wind energy across Eastern Oregon and Washington, according to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon. Wyden is now asking top officials at the Pentagon and Federal Aviation Administration to replace the system with technology that can overcome interference, or “clutter,” created by turbines.
28 May 2015

US Navy tells E.on to move turbines

The developer will relocate the turbines, which are part of the 535MW Brush Canyon wind farm, due to the navy's concerns over the obstruction of flight paths from the nearby Boardman naval weapons systems training facility.
8 May 2014

Transformer fire causes spill in Sherman County

A transformer caught fire at the base of a Bigelow Canyon wind turbine over the weekend, spilling an estimated 600 gallons of transformer oil. A representative of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) spills unit reported that PGE, the owner of the wind farm, reported the fire and hired SMF Environmental to clean up the spill. 
29 Nov 2013

Wind farms disrupting radar, scientists say

Government agencies that depend on radar -- such as the Department of Defense and the National Weather Service -- are spending millions in a scramble to preserve their detection capabilities. ...Spinning wind turbines make it hard to detect incoming planes. To avoid that problem, military officials have blocked wind farm construction near their radars -- and in some cases later allowed them after politicians protested.
5 Nov 2011

Navy, wind project collide

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.
24 Sep 2011

Pentagon drops opposition to big Oregon wind farm

Under heavy political fire, the Pentagon has dropped its opposition to the huge Shepherds Flat wind energy farm in north-central Oregon, a decision that brings construction jobs, royalties and taxes to two counties that badly need them. The Pentagon, at the urging of the Air Force, had stopped Shepherds Flat because of concerns that 338 towering turbines planned in Gilliam and Morrow counties would scramble radar signals.
30 Apr 2010

Legislators push White House on wind

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and other Oregon lawmakers are putting strong pressure on top military officials to lift the Federal Aviation Administration's ban on new wind farm construction in the Mid-Columbia region. Wyden met Wednesday with Defense Secretary Robert Gates to "let him know that the delay in starting construction at Shepherds Flat wind farm was creating economic pain."
29 Apr 2010

Developers face federal headwinds

Construction of new wind farms in Oregon usually begins in springtime, when developers hope for dry weather. But this spring, developers are concerned about more than just rain. The Federal Aviation Administration last month sent a notice of presumed hazard for Caithness Energy's Shepherd's Flat wind farm in Arlington, saying one of the project's 303 turbines could interfere with transmissions from a Department of Defense-owned radar station in nearby Fossil.
27 Apr 2010

Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley plan to hold up Obama nominees over wind energy dispute

Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley plan to put holds on three Obama administration defense nominees Friday, including two with an environmental bent, upping the ante in a dispute over Air Force concerns about wind energy farms interfering with radar signals. Those concerns have stalled construction of the Shepherds Flat wind farm in north-central Oregon.
16 Apr 2010

Pentagon objections hold up Oregon wind farm

One of the Obama administration's prime initiatives -- the development of sources of alternative energy to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, create American jobs and combat climate change -- is being jeopardized by competing concerns of the Defense Department. The Pentagon is threatening to scuttle what promises to be the world's largest wind farm, in eastern Oregon, arguing that the giant turbines could interfere with an Air Force radar system.
16 Apr 2010

Pentagon calls for more study of radar conflicts from Shepherds Flat wind farm

The Department of Defense said today it has asked radar experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory to evaluate whether the huge Shepherds Flat wind farm in north-central Oregon would interfere with signals from a radar station in Fossil if built. The study will take up to 60 days and extend past the long-planned May 1 groundbreaking date for the Shepherds Flat project, which at 338 turbines and 845 megawatts of capacity would be the largest wind farm in the nation and perhaps the world.
16 Apr 2010

Air Force concerns about radar interference stall huge Oregon wind energy farm

The Federal Aviation Administration, with backing from the Air Force, issued a "notice of presumed hazard" in March, barring construction of any towers above "0 feet." The company hasn't been able to resolve the issue, even with Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley trying to run interference. "We're just sitting here in no man's land," said Les Gelber, a Caithness Energy partner.
15 Apr 2010

FAA bans new wind towers

A potentially "catastrophic" federal moratorium on new wind farm construction is putting large planned projects in Wasco, Gilliam, Sherman and Morrow counties in Oregon and Klickitat County in Washington in jeopardy. "In the short term, for the companies who have been stopped, I'm very concerned," said Paul Woodin, executive director of The Dalles-based Community Renewable Energy Association. "For the long term, I've got to believe that rational thinking will take over."
14 Apr 2010
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