The U.S. Department of Energy projects that wind will generate less than 1 percent of the electric production needs by 2030. With the high cost of wind projects to our environment, health, wildlife and economy, plus the requirement of new power lines and increased grid problems, we are paying an astronomical price for these wind projects.
The wind developer hype is being challenged as the truth is exposed. Not only is wind power highly subsidized, but additional CO2 emissions are being generated with all the backup power plants being put into spinning reserve when the wind is blowing. The very few long-term jobs are costing the taxpayer millions per job. Plus, for every green job, 2.2 regular jobs are lost.
The Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley has started a campaign called the “Conserve 3% Energy Challenge.’’ If everyone would conserve just 3 percent of our electric energy, we would far exceed the potential wind power production across the USA.
The Friends are taking this campaign across the state with hopes that everyone will join the challenge and stop the development of more inefficient, costly wind farms that are not providing any power to the state of Oregon, all the while Oregon taxpayers are subsidizing them.
Here are some of the things you can do to conserve energy and help us achieve our goal:
• Reduce your usage of what you already operate.
• Plug your appliances and electronic equipment into a smart strip and when you’re not using them, simply turn off the smart strip.
• Wash your clothes in cold water.
• Run only full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine.
• Air dry dishes rather than using heated drying cycle.
• Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120 degrees.
We have found that many of the wind farms that have been sited were done so without much resistance. However, the tide has turned with 165 wind farm resistant groups across the USA working hard in educating the public, changing siting requirements and/or totally stopping the projects.
The mission statement of the Oregon Department of Energy is to “ensure Oregon has an adequate supply of reliable and affordable energy.’’ This statement is contrary as to what is happening as more unreliable, expensive wind farms are being built, and the power continues to go out of state, while our energy bills increase.
The source of the problem started in 2007 with SB838, which mandated that we must meet 25 percent of our electrical needs by 2025 through renewable energy sources. With the slick lobbying by wind developers, Oregon lawmakers decided to disallow hydro power as a renewable energy source. Oregon and Washington are the only two states in the nation where hydro is not considered renewable and their wind development has increased at a neck-breaking speed.
ODOE is struggling in attempting to evaluate the Antelope Ridge Wind Project application. With the numerous wildlife and siting issues, ODOE lacks the expertise to fully comprehend and evaluate the complex application. As a result, this and other wind applications are not being completed as required per the OARs. Once the application is deemed complete, it is presented to the Energy Facility Siting Council for approval. With the limited proficiency of the ODOE staff, the application is most likely not inclusive of all the requirements and documentation for the council to make an educated decision. Since the EFSC is a volunteer group of seven individuals, it cannot be expected to dig into the details of an application and, therefore, have to rely on the deficient information provided by the ODOE.
In the application it states, “The applicant has the burden to show that the overall public benefits outweigh the damage to the resources.” But wind developers are getting preferential treatment. The process of siting wind applications needs to be revised to assure that an application is truly and thoroughly complete and is in the best interest of the people of Oregon. Contact your legislators in Salem and request there be revisions to the siting process for all renewable energy applications, because our state is being raped and pillaged at the benefit of a few savvy wind developers.
The most cost effective and obtainable solution is the Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley’s Conserve 3% Energy Challenge. Join us in achieving our goal, and let’s not throw our wildlife, health, environment and economy to the wind. Watch for our new wind tower yard displays scattered around the county and be sure to check our website, www.fgrv.org.
Dennis Wilkinson of Cove is chairman of the Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley.
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