Wind Power News: Washington
These news and opinion items are gathered by National Wind Watch to help keep readers informed about developments related to industrial wind energy. They are the products of the organizations or individuals noted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Wind Watch.
While the flurry of wind farm creation that occurred across the Pacific Northwest for the better part of the last decade has subsided, proponents of wind energy say it’s still important for utility companies and other energy experts to keep finding ways to more effectively harness the wind. “Things have fallen a little steady across the Pacific Northwest as it relates to wind energy,” says Cliff W. Gilmore, communications director for Portland-based Renewable Northwest, an agency that advocates renewable energy . . .
This is a summary for the year 2015 of the windmill-generated power in the Dayton/Pomeroy area, including the wind farms Hopkins Ridge, Marengo, Lower Snake and Tucannon. There were four extended periods, each lasting a week or more, during which there was no wind at all, and the National Weather Service was issuing daily “air stagnation” alerts. These four periods were in mid-January, early March, late November, and late December (extending to the present). There was one really long period, . . .
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have requirements that utilities get a certain amount of their electricity from renewable sources. Nine additional states have goals for renewable energy, while a dozen others have no targets. A state-by-state look at renewable energy policies. ALABAMA No renewable energy standard. ALASKA A bill passed in 2010 sets a goal, but not a requirement, for Alaska to receive half its electricity from renewable and alternative energy sources by 2025. ARIZONA Public utilities must . . .
Whistling Ridge faces new legal challenge; Petition seeks to block BPA decision to allow wind farm on grid
More than two years after the Washington State Supreme Court upheld its approval, a controversial wind farm in Skamania County finds itself the subject of yet another legal challenge. A new petition filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals aims to block a recent decision by the Bonneville Power Administration allowing the Whistling Ridge Energy Project to connect to the regional power grid. The challenge argues that BPA didn’t adequately review the impacts of the wind farm before making . . .
Environmental groups Friends of the Columbia Gorge (Friends) and Save Our Scenic Area (SOSA) filed a petition for judicial review in the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week challenging a recent decision by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to approve the Whistling Ridge Energy Project’s application to connect to BPA’s energy grid. The Whistling Ridge Energy Project, proposed by SDS Lumber Company based in Bingen, would be sited near Underwood, Wash. in Skamania County, overlooking the Columbia River . . .
Opponents of a wind farm on the north side of the Columbia River Gorge are challenging the approval to connect the project to the energy grid. Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Save Our Scenic Area filed a petition for judicial review on Wednesday. It challenges Bonneville Power Administration’s decision to approve the Whistling Ridge Energy Project’s application to connect to BPA’s grid. The groups say the agency hasn’t adequately reviewed the project’s impacts to wildlife and to views in . . .
Transmission lines that funnel power from hydroelectric dams and wind turbines across Eastern Washington affect greater sage grouse habitat by isolating fragile populations and limiting movement, a new study finds. The paper, which looks at how features in the landscape limit the species’ distribution and gene flow, is the first to show that power-line corridors are an obstacle for sage grouse as they move across the landscape to feed and reproduce. The study was published early online this summer in . . .
A drop in average wind speeds in the western United States during early 2015 led to reduced generation from wind plants in California, Oregon, and Washington. As a result, wind plant utilization rates, also known as plant capacity factors, were consistently below the previous five-year average during the first five months of 2015, according to the latest data available. Capacity factors for wind turbines are largely determined by wind resources. Because the output from a turbine varies nonlinearly with wind . . .
A Washington State University Vancouver researcher has helped develop a model aiming to predict the number of birds that would be killed by a wind farm if it’s built. The study, led by WSUV assistant professor of statistics Leslie New, uses three basic parameters – hazardous footprint, bird exposure to turbines and collision probability – to develop a range for the number of fatalities expected at a given site. The research focused on golden eagles, a protected species, but could be applied . . .
The Washington Supreme Court last week handed a victory to environmental advocates who argued that unzoned forestland in Skamania County is in violation of the Growth Management Act. In an opinion issued Thursday, the court found that Skamania County is more than six years past its December 2008 deadline to review its natural resource land designations. The opinion largely sided with conservation groups Save Our Scenic Area and Friends of the Columbia Gorge, who had filed a lawsuit in 2012 . . .