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A Second Gust
Anyone listening to the last ten minutes of yesterday's Urban Turbines show heard some technical problems. Chris Crowley, the president of Columbia Energy Partners, wants to build wind farms in southeastern Oregon. But he couldn't hear Brent Fenty, the executive director of the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), who is wary of those farms.
So we invited both of them to continue the conversation on the thread.
Crowley kicked it off:
One point we didn't have time to cover I want to offer for your listeners... In a broader discussion of the efficacy of renewable energy, it's important for Oregonians to note that resource diversity is essential for making renewable energy a major component of our energy supply. With some 1,200 MW of wind power located in the Columbia River Gorge today (and more on the way) that produces most of its power in the spring and summer, it's vitally important that diverse renewable resources be added to balance out that seasonal output.
Our Harney County projects will produce more than 50% of their power during the months of Dec-March, when Gorge winds are still.
ONDA may say "build it somewhere else," but there simply is no where else in Oregon where winds blow in those months the way they do on our site.
Another point I hope is not lost in this: Harney County's economy is in desperate need of investment. They targeted renewable energy in their Comp Plan in 1985 - finally, with our projects, they will see that come to fruition....
ONDA replied, in part:
ONDA hopes to work with all stakeholders to ensure that wind energy development is done in an effective and responsible way. To this end ONDA collaborated with five other conservation groups to author a wind report titled “Oregon’s High Desert Wind Energy: Opportunities and Strategies for Responsible Development” which addresses many issues surrounding wind development in Oregon’s high desert.
Using GIS analysis the report has determined that approximately 6.8 million acres of land in the study area has low to moderate potential for environmental or social conflict. Of this 467,000 acres have been identified has having high wind resources. As Mr. Crowley mentioned, these regions are largely public lands, thus we feel the public must be involved with every step of the process.
ONDA also feels it's important to note that there are over two dozen proposed wind development projects in Southeast Oregon-outside of the Steens-that would fulfill the need for wind energy in the winter months (Dec-Mar).
Wind energy promises to play a significant role in providing clean energy and strong job creation in areas that need it most but it must not be done in a way that fails to recognize and address its true costs.
The full wind report can be read here: http://www.onda.org/enforcing-conservation-laws/issue-areaz/windreport
Another ONDA staff member wrote in about the sage grouse. You can read that comment here.