Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave the go ahead today to what could be Central Oregon’s first wind energy project.
Salazar announced approval of West Butte Wind Power’s project, about 25 miles east of Bend.
The project will include 52 wind turbines on private land in Deschutes and Crook counties with a capacity of 104 megawatts, enough to power about 36,000 homes.
Salazar’s action authorizes an access road and a transmission line that will cross about 4.5 miles of U.S. Bureau of Land Management property.
The agency is requiring West Butte Wind to mitigate 9,000 acres of sage grouse habitat by paying for restoration and enhancement of a similar amount of habitat on BLM lands.
John Stahl, West Butte Wind’s project manager, said the BLM approval “was the last big hurdle.”
The developer is still discussing transmission line details with the Bonneville Power Administration, Stahl said.
If those are worked out, he said, the company would begin construction next spring and begin operating the wind farm by the end of 2012.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding