Articles from Oregon

BETC or bust, say wind and solar developers

A fortified Oregon business energy tax credit (BETC), which raises the maximum write-off for renewables from 35 percent on $10 million projects to 50 percent on $20 million projects, is all but certain to pass into law as HB 2811 before legislators head home from Salem. But a new BETC won't do businesses much good unless lawmakers also close a loophole that devalues tax credits in years such as 2007, when the state will pay out a business tax kicker. As things stand, the kicker lessens corporate tax burdens and, in turn, eats into the value of the credits for would-be buyers - costly both in millions of dollars to the economy and megawatts gone undeveloped.
2 Jun 2007

Time for a timeout on reaping the wind

So far, it's been a breeze embracing the growth of wind energy in Oregon as a small part of a broader strategy on global climate change. But a recent proposal for the Columbia River Gorge suggests the industry is about to take a wrong turn and come into direct conflict with the state's cherished livability while also marring our unique landscapes.......In short, this project doesn't add up for the gorge or for Oregon. The governor and the Legislature should immediately enact a moratorium on new commercial wind plants in the state. The Oregon Department of Energy, through its Energy Facility Siting Council, needs time to update rules that were drawn up before the advent of these huge energy-generating factories.
30 May 2007

Clean-energy bill sails through Oregon House

A controversial renewable energy bill blew away the opposition Wednesday with a 41 to 18 House vote that saw many Republicans join the majority Democrats in landing Gov. Ted Kulongoski a big environmental win. Kulongoski, a second-term Democrat, had made Senate Bill 838 the centerpiece of his energy agenda, touting it as a way to green-up Oregon's image and make the state a leader in clean-energy technologies, such as wind and solar power.
24 May 2007

Industries opposing renewable energy bill

Some of Oregon's largest industrial companies are warning the Legislature that a much-touted renewable energy bill could harm their competitiveness and cost the state well-paying jobs. The manufacturing sector, which accounts for 10 percent of the state's work force, should not be put at risk in an effort to promote renewable energy and fuel, and development of an emerging clean-technology sector, these companies say. They say the bill lacks adequate protections against unexpected rate increases, to which energy-intensive companies are particularly vulnerable.
12 May 2007

State proposes wind farm change

The Oregon Department of Energy has issued a public notice of a proposed order for Biglow Canyon Wind Farm. The ODE is recommending a change be made to Condition 9, which deals with site restoration if the facility ceases to operate in the future. Although Biglow Canyon Wind Farm is obligated to restore the site, Condition 9 ensures that funds are available to the state to restore it.
9 May 2007

Wind project meets vocal opposition

Neighbors weren't shy Wednesday night about their feelings on the proposed Cascade Wind Project on Sevenmile Hill; they don't want it and they want to know how to keep it out. Close to 100 people crowded into the Fireside Room at The Dalles Civic Auditorium, where fewer than half that number had been expected. The dominant, and vocal, viewpoint expressed was opposition.
4 May 2007

Comments sought on wind farm

A public meeting is planned Wednesday, May 2, at 7 p.m. at The Dalles Civic Auditorium to discuss the Cascade Wind Project proposed on Sevenmile Hill by UPC Wind Development LLC. The Oregon Department of Energy is holding this public information meeting to help people understand the process, to answer questions, and to hear comments. The applicant's representatives will be there as well.
1 May 2007

Wind, power issues occupy Wasco County

Despite their concerns about impacts specific to the Sevenmile site, the second part of the Casdays' presentation showed that their opposition to wind power has evolved beyond the "not-in-my-back-yard" phenomenon. "We started out as NIMBYs," Gary Casady admitted to the court, employing a term that is used pejoratively to refer to those who oppose development only when it happens near their property. However, Casady said, after reading thousands of documents and doing extensive research on the internet, the pair has come to the conclusion that many of the positive claims made by the wind power industry need to be questioned.
15 Apr 2007

Is a wind farm slated for Vale?

VALE - Wind turbines reaching 400 feet into the air are not a normal sight along the high desert plains of Eastern Oregon, but as the federal government continues to provide enticing grant options to entrepreneurs in the state, that form of clean energy technology could become more common locally. One case in point is a recent decision by the United States Department of Agriculture regarding a grant for a feasibility study for a 10 megawatt family wind farm in Vale.
15 Apr 2007

Oregon Senate approves renewable energy bill

After a vigorous debate, the Oregon Senate passed a bill Tuesday to require the state's largest utilities eventually to draw 25 percent of their power from renewable sources like wind, waves, sunlight and manure. Supporters argued the bill was a necessary step toward reducing global warming and protecting Oregonians from a volatile fossil fuel market. Opponents said they were concerned that setting quotas would increase the cost to consumers.
10 Apr 2007

PUDs: Too much, too fast

Twenty-five percent renewable power by 2025? Northern Wasco County PUD and some other utilities are saying "not so fast." Gov. Ted Kulongoski's plan to push Oregon to get 25 percent of its power from renewable energy by 2025 could face a vote in the Oregon Senate as early as the end of this week. But members of Northern Wasco County PUD's leadership team say the bill is poorly designed and doesn't consider what it will cost customers, or the bill's impact on economic development. Generally speaking, the new bill would require larger electrical utilities to get 25 percent of their power from renewable energy - wind, wave, biomass, geothermal, etc. - by the year 2025, with intermediate goals set every five years starting in 2010. .............Higher costs can be disastrous for economic stability, Langer said. "Not one business looking at coming here has asked us how green our power is," Langer said. "They want to know about price." Immediate efforts to meet renewable power standards could have a damaging effect on efforts to recruit new business to the community and maintain economic stability, he said. "Baseload resources will best serve our needs now," Langer said. "They will actually save money for our customers later on. Those decisions need to be left with the electrical utilities."
1 Apr 2007

The green machine; Industrial customers say proposed new renewable energy requirements are a rip-off for all of us

The goal of making Oregon's utilities more environmentally friendly has got the state's largest electricity buyers saying Gov. Ted Kulongoski, legislators and enviros are selling out all ratepayers in an ill-conceived green-wash. At issue is SB 838, which would require utilities to derive 25 percent of sales from renewable sources by 2025. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Brad Avakian (D-Beaverton), fulfills a campaign promise Kulongoski made while struggling to regain support of his disaffected base in last year's re-election campaign. The measure now also has become one of the issues the governor hopes to build into his legacy. In addition to traditional enviros, consumer groups such as OSPIRG, the Citizens' Utility Board and even the watchdog Utility Reform Project which usually look askance at anything that might raise rates, are on board with the legislation. Also supporting the measure, still in the Senate Environmental and Natural Resources Committee, are Oregon's largest utilities-Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp. But the Industrial Customers of Northwest Utilities says the bill, while well-intentioned, amounts to a wholesale transfer of wealth from ratepayers to the developers of renewable energy and the utilities.
28 Mar 2007

Panel: Wind power no cure-all

Wind energy will play a growing role in meeting the rising power needs of the Northwest, but it isn't controllable and it needs total backup by traditional sources such as hydroelectric dams, according to a report released Wednesday by energy specialists. The six-month study looked at how to integrate wind power into the region's existing power system. While wind energy sounds attractive, it can be fickle, the specialists said. Sometimes it blows, sometimes it doesn't. And while wind is free, they said getting its energy from a rural windfarm to an urban wall socket isn't. The report said the existing grid can probably handle the predicted output of 6,000 mostly new megawatts of electricity from wind that are anticipated to be produced by 2024 or earlier. That's roughly the production of two nuclear plants. "It could be more than that. That's all that we studied," said Steve Wright, administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration.
26 Mar 2007

Power officials debate wind use

Wind energy will play a growing role in meeting the rising power needs of the Northwest, but it isn't controllable and it needs total backup by traditional sources such as hydroelectric dams, according to a report released Wednesday by energy specialists. The six-month study looked at how to integrate wind power into the region's power system. While wind energy sounds attractive, it can be fickle, the specialists said. Sometimes it blows, sometimes it doesn't. And while wind is free, they said getting its energy from a rural wind farm to an urban wall socket isn't.
22 Mar 2007

Wind project announced for The Dalles

A new wind farm in The Dalles could eventually power 12,000 homes. Newton, Mass.-based UPC Wind Management LLC needs site approval from the state's Department of Energy before beginning construction on the 60-megawatt facility, which would feature 40 wind turbines. The proposal would help satisfy a legislative proposal that utilities get 25 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2025. Only 1 percent of the state's power came from wind and geothermal sources in 2002, according to the most recent data from Oregon's Department of Energy. UPC Wind is building a portfolio of 3,800 megawatts of wind power across several states, including Hawaii, Maine and New York.
17 Mar 2007

UPC seeks 40 turbines on Sevenmile

With wind-turbine farms in heavy construction in Klickitat and Sherman counties, it was only a matter of time before a large project surfaced in Wasco County That was the case Thursday at the Discovery Center, when a small contingent of local people turned out to hear a presentation by UPC Wind, a Newton, Maine-based company. UPC's project, Cascade Wind, would place 40 General Electric 1.5 megawatt wind turbines in a seven-mile footprint on (appropriately enough) Sevenmile Hill. Power generated along the ridge would be brought to a new substation and connected to an existing 115 kilovolt line that runs from The Dalles to Hood River. The total capacity of the project would be 60 megawatts.
14 Mar 2007

Legislature to consider energy bill

SALEM - State lawmakers today will take up a proposal to require that a quarter of Oregon's electricity comes from wind turbines, solar panels and other renewable energy technologies. The proposal for 25 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025 is one of Gov. Ted Kulongoski's top priorities for the session. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled the first hearing today on his plan, Senate Bill 373. In a briefing with reporters, Kulongoski said he felt upbeat about the bill's chances. About two dozen states already have renewable energy standards, including California and Washington. But Kulongoski said Oregon's would be the second-most ambitious in the country. The bill calls for intermediate standards to be met along the way to the "25 by '25" target. By 2010, each utility must meet a 5 percent threshold. That would rise to 15 percent by 2015 and to 20 percent by 2020.
7 Mar 2007

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