Articles filed under Safety from Oregon
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.
The U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Aviation Administration say they've developed a radar upgrade for the station in Fossil that will minimize conflict with proposed wind farms.
An outdated Air Force radar in Fossil is holding back nearly 4,000 megawatts of proposed wind energy across Eastern Oregon and Washington, according to U.S. Sen.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.
A woman crashed her car at the bottom of a wind turbine outside Helix, and an emergency helicopter rushed her to a hospital. But plenty of questions remain about the crash and the victim.
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.
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.
The trailer struck the guardrail, damaging about 100 feet of railing before hitting the bridge and going over the embankment into the river, Duncan said. A small fire started in the grass, but firefighters put it out.
"Areas like the Boardman Range are few and far between and virtually impossible to create," said John Mosher, U.S. Pacific Fleet Northwest Environmental Program Manager. "The range has great military use right now and into the future."
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.
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.
The Oregonian reported that radar settings at the Fossil surveillance station, opened in 1958, were tweaked in September to reduce interference. an official said the station will be a key test site for the military on technological upgrades designed to address interference problems that have threatened to stall wind energy projects nationwide.
Radar settings at the Fossil surveillance station, opened in 1958, were tweaked in September to reduce interference. The station will also be the military's key test site for technological upgrades designed to address interference problems.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."