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Energy siting council to meet in Corvallis

The council will also review a recommendation by the Department of Energy to grant a site certificate for the Klondike III wind power project in Sherman County. The proposal calls for a peak generating capacity of 272 megawatts, which would mean erecting about 180 large windmill turbines, Stoops estimated.

A little-known state panel whose decisions can have far-reaching effects will convene in Corvallis this week.

The Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council will meet at 9 a.m. Friday at the Salbasgeon Suites and Conference Center, 1730 N.W. Ninth St.

The seven-member volunteer body has oversight of most kinds of large energy facilities in Oregon, including electrical power plants and transmission lines, natural gas pipelines, geothermal facilities and wind farms. No large energy facility can be built in Oregon until a site certificate has been issued by the council.

The council is chaired by a Corvallis resident, retired CH2M Hill executive and electrical engineer Hans Neukomm. The other members are Martha Dibblee, Russell N. Dorran, Karen H. Green, David Ripma, Bob Shiprack and David Tegart.

The members represent various regions of the state and come from a diverse mix of professional backgrounds.

Renewable energy projects are increasingly coming before the council, according to Tom Stoops, the facility siting manager for the Oregon Department of Energy, and Friday’s agenda will include discussion of two such ventures.

The council will consider a proposal by Pacific Ethanol Inc. to build an... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
A little-known state panel whose decisions can have far-reaching effects will convene in Corvallis this week.

The Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council will meet at 9 a.m. Friday at the Salbasgeon Suites and Conference Center, 1730 N.W. Ninth St.

The seven-member volunteer body has oversight of most kinds of large energy facilities in Oregon, including electrical power plants and transmission lines, natural gas pipelines, geothermal facilities and wind farms. No large energy facility can be built in Oregon until a site certificate has been issued by the council.

The council is chaired by a Corvallis resident, retired CH2M Hill executive and electrical engineer Hans Neukomm. The other members are Martha Dibblee, Russell N. Dorran, Karen H. Green, David Ripma, Bob Shiprack and David Tegart.

The members represent various regions of the state and come from a diverse mix of professional backgrounds.

Renewable energy projects are increasingly coming before the council, according to Tom Stoops, the facility siting manager for the Oregon Department of Energy, and Friday’s agenda will include discussion of two such ventures.

The council will consider a proposal by Pacific Ethanol Inc. to build an ethanol production facility near the Columbia River in Morrow County. The plant would produce up to 42 million gallons of ethanol a year for use as a gasoline additive and motor fuel.

Initially, the plant would make ethanol by fermenting dried corn imported from the Midwest, Stoops said, but plans call for gradually shifting to locally grown crops.

“There’s pretty good interest from the agricultural community,” Stoops said. “They’re watching this pretty closely.”

The council will also review a recommendation by the Department of Energy to grant a site certificate for the Klondike III wind power project in Sherman County. The proposal calls for a peak generating capacity of 272 megawatts, which would mean erecting about 180 large windmill turbines, Stoops estimated.

“What we’re trying to look at is what’s the impact of that on the environment, on the topography, on the aesthetics, et cetera,” he said. “They’re generally sited away from the highways, so there’s not too much visual impact.”

There has been a good deal of discussion of wind turbines’ potential to kill birds of prey in the wake of negative publicity about the Altamont Pass wind farm in California, Stoops said. But he added that the problems there are largely tied to the site and that wind turbine designers have learned from Altamont’s mistakes.

“The industry has learned a lot” about how to build turbines that won’t kill so many birds, Stoops said. “That’s why they’re so much taller now.”

Friday’s meeting, which is open to the public, will also touch on the Port Westward gas-fired electric plant project in Columbia County, power transmission corridors on federal land and coordination with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on applications for liquefied natural gas import terminals.

While Friday’s meeting is not a public hearing, the council will take comments on matters outside the agenda items.

Bennett Hall is the business editor for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at 758-9529 or bennett.hall@lee.net..


Source: http://www.gazettetimes.com...

MAY 18 2006
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