Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Oregon
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.
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.
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.
Two residents who opposed construction of wind-measuring towers on Sevenmile Hill have given notice that they will appeal the county’s decision to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). Gary and Linda Casady, and Mark Womble were the petitioners to LUBA. At issue were requests by UPC Wind Management, LLC for two-year permits to construct a pair of wind-measuring towers — one 164 feet tall and one 197 feet tall — at two properties on Sevenmile Hill. Three other UPC tower requests for properties farther south and outside of populated areas had been granted without any opposition.
Wasco County Commissioners denied a pair of appeals Wednesday from residents of Seven Mile Hill who are opposed to the construction of wind-measuring towers at two sites on the hill. At each site, members of the planning commission had approved two-year temporary permits for a pair of towers, one at 164 feet and one at 197 feet. The towers, according to the applications, were “for gathering wind and temperature data to establish the viability of the property for a future wind energy generation facility.”
Threemile Canyon Farms plans to begin producing a new crop next year - wind power. The Morrow County Planning Commission Tuesday approved a conditional-use permit for a $25-million, nine-tower, 15-megawatt project in an exclusive farm-use zone. The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Jeff Wenholz opposed.
The Oregon Energy Facility met Friday in The Dalles to consider approval of amendments to site certificates for two wind farms in Sherman County. Klondike Three Wind Project LLC is requesting an amendment that would make changes to the physical layout of the facility. It would allow the certificate holder to use wind turbines having a higher generating capacity than currently permitted in the site certificate.
The largest landfill in Jackson County is transforming itself into an alternative energy farm that will burn waste methane to produce a steady 3.2 megawatts of power for the next century. The Dry Creek landfill takes in 900 tons of municipal garbage a day. But construction has just started on a powerhouse, which will go online next spring with two large, 20-cylinder Caterpillar engines, to use that decomposing garbage from Jackson and Josephine counties to convert into energy. A third engine may be added later. It's the first green landfill in Southern Oregon. Burning 1,040 cubic feet of methane per minute, its output would continually power about 3,000 homes, said Dry Creek General Manager Lee Fortier, a civil engineer who designed the landfill. Similar green energy farms are in Eugene and Corvallis. Energy will be sold to Pacific Power and fed into the grid.
The list of qualifying devices includes passive solar space heating, solar water heating, solar thermal electric, photovoltaic, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, fuel cells and alternative energy refueling stations.
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 nine-member central steering committee is being formed to explore all of the available options. The county is seeking people who either have knowledge or expertise in wind, hydro or biomass production.
The streamlined rules establish new procedures for demonstrating wind energy facility compliance with existing noise control standards. These standards are used by the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council to evaluate the location of new energy facilities.