UPC Wind filed a site certification application with the Oregon Energy and Facility Siting Council (EFSC) Wednesday to build a 60- megawatt wind farm on Sevenmile Hill west of The Dalles.
The proposal includes construction of 40 General Electric wind turbine generators at the Cascade Wind Farm site, which covers a seven-mile footprint. Each turbine has a 1.5 megawatt production capacity. The total energy output of the proposed project could power as many as 12,000 homes. Cascade Wind, if approved will connect to Bonneville Power Agency’s electricity grid via an existing 115 kilovolt line that runs between The Dalles and Hood River.
UPC will hold a community open house on Wednesday, May 23, at 7 p.m. at the Gorge Discovery Center. The event will include presentations about detailed project plans and concepts during the EFSC application process.
The size and scope of the project was formally announced March 8, but residents of the Sevenmile Hill area were aware of it earlier, when several of them objected to the placement of wind speed measurement towers on adjoining properties.
Wasco County commissioners overruled the petitioner’s objections, which were then appealed to the state’s Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). This week LUBA remanded the case to the county for further consideration,
The EFSC Site Certification for the Cascade Wind Project is expected to be granted early next year, according to UPC Wind, which said the commercial wind farm could be in operation by the end of 2008.
A news release suggested the project would “benefit the local economy with jobs in both construction and operations, property tax payments to Wasco county and the long-term lease contracts to property owners.”
The release also stressed UPC’s onsite research of the proposed wind farm site. Those studies, it said, include examinations of historical and cultural resources in the area, rare plant studies, habitat reviews, and surveys of the resident birds, bats and large game animals.
They also considered security for threatened and endangered species, impact of facility on scenic and aesthetic values and recreation areas.
“Cascade Wind is positioned to help Oregon take a national leadership role in renewable energy production. We are excited to be working with so many people dedicated to expanding clean, green and environmentally responsible energy options in the northwest,” said Paul Gaynor, President and CEO of UPC Wind. “Filing our application is a solid step forward in our plans to develop the Cascade Wind Project, which will greatly expand Oregon’s wind energy capacity.”
On the web:
Cascade Wind Project: www.cascadewind.com.
By Rodger Nichols
Of The Chronicle
13 April 2007
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