Tuesday, February 9, 2010

ONDA: Steens Mtn. Wind Power Development

Just in from ONDA. -hoc


You may have already read The Oregonian's article from February 7th, "Oregon's Steens Mountains Could Soon have Wind Farms". If you haven't read it yet, take a look HERE.

ONDA whole-heartedly supports responsible renewable energy development in Oregon. However, we believe renewable energy facilities, such as industrial-scale wind energy generation projects and associated transmission towers and lines, need to be sited with the utmost care to ensure that accumulating impacts are limited. In this way, Oregon can create an energy economy that is truly sustainable. Please read ONDA's report "Oregon's High Desert and Wind Energy."

Please take the time to submit comments to the Energy Facility Siting Council and the Governor's Office asking them to create rules defining a "single energy facility" so that large projects cannot be broken down on paper into smaller parts.

Contact details:

Governor Ted Kulongoski
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, OR 97301-4047
Via email c/o Mike Carrier: michael.carrier@state.or.us

Tom Stoops, Council Secretary
Energy Facility Siting Council
Oregon Department of Energy
625 Marion St. NE
Salem, OR 97301-3737
Via email: tom.stoops@state.or.us

The proposed Echanis, East Ridge and West Ridge generation sites in Harney County are three adjacent sites, proposed by a single developer, with shared infrastructure, and which would use a single transmission line to export the generated power from the mountain, compel the conclusion that these sites must be treated as a single 312-megawatt facility rather than three separate projects just under 105-megawatts each. 

Under current State rules smaller, less complex developments (below 105 megawatts) are permitted at the county level while larger, more complex developments (105 megawatts and above) are permitted by the State Energy Siting Council. The developers of the proposed Steens wind farms have abused the rule by breaking their proposals into artificially small segments on paper, proposing side-by-side 104 megawatt facilities that are part of the same larger project but would avoid the need to go through the Council's permitting process.

Projects that fall under the Council's jurisdiction undergo a comprehensive permitting process. The Council studies proposals' viability, economic impacts, impacts to public services, recreation and the environment, and whether the energy generated will be available to Oregonians or sold out of state. The state process also allows Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife to require mitigation for potential habitat damage.

A hearing on this rulemaking will be held in March, the date to be announced. Look for another email from us when the date is set or check the Energy Facility Siting Council website for dates and locations. 
Thank you for your support,
Brent Fenty 

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