Articles filed under Energy Policy from Oregon

County wants strong energy stand; Advisory groups will work toward new energy rules

"We're trying to create clarity so that firms that want to do these kinds of projects know what's available," said Todd Cornett, Wasco County planning director. "Also, we want to be consistent with our guidelines and take away any concerns that counties aren't doing a strong enough job at oversight." As of this week, 18 people are appointed to serve on the Wasco County commercial energy advisory group and 13 on the Wasco County noncommercial energy advisory group.
19 Mar 2010

No room under the sun?

For renewable energy developers searching for suitable sites for big solar arrays and large-scale wind projects, it's getting to be a desert out there. Last week California Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill that would close off a million acres of the Mojave Desert ...Wind farm developers in the Northwest also are now turning to public land, and meeting objections from environmental groups and neighboring property owners.
27 Dec 2009

Tax dollars blow away in wind projects

When Gov. Ted Kulongoski vetoed a bill this summer that would have slashed Oregon's tax subsidies for large wind farms, he insisted the reduction went too far and would jeopardize the growth of Oregon's green economy. But during the past eight years has yet to do any substantive analysis of how big a subsidy is necessary -- if any -- to continue attracting investments. ...Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, a sponsor of the original bill, says she has no problem with the basic strategy of providing incentives. ..."But we're greatly oversubsidizing these things and the benefits are flowing to California ratepayers," she said. "I don't think that's what Oregon taxpayers signed up for."
28 Nov 2009

Repeal energy program

Our current governor and Legislature have mandated that all electrical suppliers in Oregon shall provide power from renewable sources. ...Oregon residents will be penalized by paying double for their electrical power due to the program. However, the wind power companies will reap the benefits through tax subsidies, stimulus grants and these increased rate charges.
27 Nov 2009

County says state siting rules for area wind farms unfair; Officials ask for end to designation

Umatilla County is again asking the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council to do away with a 400,000 acre box designated as an energy generation area. The box sits along the north border of the county, in about the center. It includes Milton-Freewater, Adams, Athena, Weston and some of Pendleton. In 1999 the siting council designated the EGA in response to a legislative mandate. The Oregon Department of Energy has been unclear on the EGA's original purpose, but some have said it was meant to analyze cumulative effects of many small wind farms in a given area.
15 Nov 2009

Wind energy's success creates a power grid challenge

The rows of white turbines spinning over wheat fields and ridgelines in eastern Oregon are ample evidence that renewable energy from wind is real and growing. ...But wind developers are just getting started. And thousands of miles of new power lines carried by skyscraper-sized steel towers will need to be laid across deserts, farms and forests as more wind farms rise in farther-flung corners of Oregon and the West. It won't be cheap, or without controversy.
29 Oct 2009

There's real power in energy conservation

Conservation used to be the coolest thing in energy planning. But now all most people want to talk about is the next great renewable energy source -- wind farms, solar arrays, small-scale nuclear plants, even wave energy. And while all those sources of energy are promising, the Northwest Power Planning Council's new 20-year power plan is right to go back to the future: It proposes doubling down on the Northwest's long history of conservation to meet 85 percent of the region's new demand for electricity. It's a smart and bold plan, even if it disappoints the clean-energy activists who have pressured the council to declare the Northwest a coal-free zone.
19 Oct 2009

California renewables push could drive up prices in Oregon

California's push to supersize its renewable energy standards could drive electricity rates higher for Northwest consumers, strain the west's transmission and hydroelectric systems, and create a host of thorny policy issues. The California Assembly passed a pair of bills Friday to create the nation's most aggressive renewable energy mandate. It would require utilities to meet one third of their customers' needs with green energy such as wind, solar and geothermal by 2020.
15 Sep 2009

Wind projects are generating interest

An Independence company is hoping to make wind turbines a more common feature of the Willamette Valley landscape. WindEnergy expects to have a handful of small-scale installations on residential properties by October. "We expect once one goes up in a neighborhood, others will consider it."
10 Aug 2009

County asks state to remove designation; Commissioners say energy generation area is unneeded

Along the northern border of Umatilla County, at about the center of the county, the state drew a 400,000 acre box and called it an energy generation area. It includes Milton-Freewater, some of Pendleton, Adams, Athena and Weston. This week the Umatilla County Commissioners decided they want to ask the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council to get rid of it. ..."It creates a disadvantage in the marketplace when the state leads instead of the county," Mabbott said.
19 Jul 2009

Kulongoski may veto bills on biomass rule, wind credits

Gov. Ted Kulongoski may veto bills he worries could slow Oregon's efforts to boost the green economy and reduce global warming. One of the measures would trim a program that subsidizes green energy projects by reducing tax credits for large wind farms. The other would allow older biomass plants to be counted toward the state's renewable energy standards adopted two years ago.
9 Jul 2009

Legislature votes to roll back Oregon tax subsidy for wind projects

A state program that subsidizes green energy projects got trimmed Friday when lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that reduces tax credits for Oregon wind farms. Gov. Ted Kulongoski hasn't decided on the bill. His aide said he doesn't want to roll back Oregon's incentives for alternative energy because they have delivered "tremendous economic returns." At the same time, he recognizes that the state needs all the money it can get in the next two years.
26 Jun 2009

Commission set to hear wind ideas; Planning group will listen to proposal to keep turbines out

A proposal to keep wind turbines out of the Blue Mountains and foothills will go before the Umatilla County Planning Commission Thursday. Richard Jolly of Milton-Freewater submitted a Goal 5 amendment to the county's comprehensive plan, which aims to set aside an area as a wind turbine-free zone. ...It seeks to designate the area as a viewshed, or a visual resource, which needs to be protected by the county.
21 Jun 2009

As wind power grows, a push to tear down dams

For decades, most of the nation's renewable power has come from dams, which supplied cheap electricity without requiring fossil fuels. But the federal agencies running the dams often compiled woeful track records on other environmental issues. ...Yet the shift of emphasis at the dam agencies is proving far from simple. It could end up pitting one environmental goal against another.
12 Jun 2009

Chase for wind power turns to Oregon's public lands

Rows of tall turbines have already remade the landscape on wheat farms and ridgelines on private land around the region. But so far there have been no wind farms built on public land in the Northwest. That's about to change. In 2006 the BLM received six right-of-way applications for wind testing in Oregon and Washington. The number last year was four times that -- 24. Wind farms in relatively untrammeled public lands present a number of potential problems while pitting two environmental concerns ...against each other.
23 May 2009

Alternative energy sparks rate-hike pleas

Big investments in renewable energy could mean higher electric bills, hitting households and businesses during high unemployment and a weak economy. Oregon's biggest electric companies, PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric, filed for rate increases last week with state utility regulators. Both cited renewable energy projects as the reason.
8 Apr 2009

BPA plans major transmission project; Project could create as many as 700 jobs

When the government's $787 billion economic stimulus package became law last month, the Bonneville Power Administration was one of the many beneficiaries. The federal utility wasted no time making use of its share, rolling out plans for a major transmission project ...The project now aims to provide service for 873 megawatts of energy - about 700 megawatts of that from wind power. That wouldn't have been the case seven years ago, he said.
5 Mar 2009
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