NEAR LARCH MOUNTAIN, Wash. – A proposed wind farm development Washington is creating some controversy.
While the plan is still in the very early stages, the designers envision placing wind turbines on a ridge near Larch Mountain, east of Battle Ground.
There is also a Larch Mountain in Oregon near the Columbia River Gorge, but that site is not under consideration.
The turbines are about 400 feet tall and may be visible to residents in Portland and Vancouver if they are built.
Hundreds of wind turbines currently generate power from locations in rural eastern Oregon and Washington.
Each wind turbine generates enough electricity to light about 1,000 homes. Currently, no turbines are visible from major metropolitan areas.
Several Portland residents KATU News talked to said they had no problem with seeing wind turbines in the distance, but there has historically been resistance to locating the turbines near U.S. cities because of their appearance.
Many European cities have wind farms near or sometimes inside city boundaries.
Rachel Shimshak of the Renewable Northwest Project, which promotes clean energy, told KATU News that the day is coming soon when residents will have to decide what resources the region will get its power from and where they will be placed.
She said most people prefer clean energy sources over traditional “dirty” power sources such as coal or oil-fired power plants.
About half of the power generated in the United States comes from coal plants. Wind power makes up about 5 percent or less of the total energy generated.
Along with the proposed wind farm in the Gorge, Shimshak said turbines could also be placed in some wind-prone coastal locations in Oregon.
The proposed location in the Gorge is on state-owned land, so any proposal would have to make its way through permitting procedures and periods of public comment.
Those procedures mean any construction, once approved, is likely 3 to 4 years away.
By Brian Barker and KATU Web Staff
KATU.com (Video available)
30 May 2008
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