Home Back Issues December 2011 Conflict in the wind

Conflict in the wind

| Print |  Email
Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Article Index
Conflict in the wind
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4

By Lee Van der Voo // Illustrations by Ana Mouyis

1211_Wind_01The exact speed of the wind on this flat-topped butte is confidential. But on the towering plateau 32 miles east of Bend, wind whips across the sagebrush at 5,000 feet, piling snow up by the foot in winter. It’s a landscape mostly left to sage grouse and eagles, pygmy rabbits and bats. Increasingly in Oregon, such lands are also welcoming new residents: windmills.

Pacific Wind Power, owned by 69-year-old John Stahl of Santa Barbara, plans construction of a 104-megawatt wind farm on West Butte. The company is still pursuing financing for the project, but when its 52 wind turbines start turning, Stahl hopes next year, a 4.5-mile road will reach across federally managed land from Highway 20, making it one of two wind projects to lease public lands in Oregon. On the new frontier of renewable energy, this is our pioneer.

Driven to the butte by a federal policy that makes renewable energy a priority for public lands — a silver bullet intended to address climate change, energy independence and job creation in one — it comes with blessings from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The agency’s effort to help developers, state and local governments, and landowners develop wind farms and solar arrays nationwide was sanctioned by an Interior Department order in 2009, aiming to put 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy leases on national public land by the end of 2012.

But conflicts with existing residents of the land — birds and bats primarily, along with cattle-grazing ranchers and hunters — are an unfortunate result. With a mandate to site renewable energy projects, but no real rules as to how, it falls to conservationists, government officials and others to define where renewable energy will fit into public lands in Oregon, even as 177,847 acres are currently being studied or developed for wind farms.



 

More Articles

The Diaspora

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

Former newspaper journalists move into brand journalism.


Read more...

A Taste of Heaven

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Craft beer comes to Mount Angel.


Read more...

Two sides of the coin

Contributed Blogs
Monday, August 25, 2014
0825 thumb moneyBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.


Read more...

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

True Blood

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Antibiotics really aren’t magic bullets.


Read more...

Is this employee right?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
081314 thumb employeefeelingsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”


Read more...

Launch

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

October's Launch article features Soul Kitchen, Easy Company and Slick's Big Time BBQ.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS