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Market cited for app removal
Antelope Ridge Farm halts site certificate process
The application for the site certificate for the Antelope Ridge Wind Farm has been withdrawn over market concerns.
In a letter dated Sept. 17, Sam Littlefield, the wind farm project manager, notified the Oregon Department of Energy’s Energy Facility Siting Council that the application has been withdrawn from consideration.
Littlefield said the next step for the wind farm, after a long time working on the application, would be to refresh the application. That would involve a significant investment that they “would be willing to undertake if we felt we’d be able to take the project to market within the next couple years,” Littlefield said.
The renewables market, however, is low.
“We don’t believe this project has a significant competitive advantage in the region given that area utilities are not expected to procure additional renewable energy in the near term. We can restart permitting when demand increases,” Littlefield said.
The wind farm would have been located approximately 10 miles southeast of La Grande. According to Oregon Department of Energy documents, it would have included up to 164 turbines and a nominal generating capacity of up to 300 megawatts.
Opponents of the wind farm are pleased with the news.
“This is very good news for eagles, elk, owls, hawks, deer and for people who care about wildlife in Oregon,” said Brian Kelly, restoration director for Hells Canyon Preservation Council. “HCPC strongly supports energy conservation and we also support the development of renewable energy projects. However, it’s essential that energy projects be located on appropriate sites, and we also need to ensure that wildlife and their habitat are protected from harm.”
Kelly said the proposed Antelope Ridge Wind Farm located south of the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area would have been harmful to wildlife in the area.
Though EDP Renewables North America, the parent company behind the wind farm project, has withdrawn the site certificate application, Littlefield says that doesn’t mean the project is being abandoned.
“We’re not dropping the project. We’re not closing out our development measures. We’re just not moving forward with the site certificate process at this time,” he said.
According to the ODOE, the Antelope Ridge Wind Farm project notice of intent was received April 27, 2009. ODOE issued the project order, which identifies rules, statutes and other regulations the project application will have to address, on June 24, 2009. A completed application was received Dec. 30, 2011, but in June of that year, EDP and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife entered into an agreement “to resolve issues concerning mitigation of the proposed facility’s potential impacts on fish and wildlife, threatened and endangered species, and wildlife habitat,” according to ODOE. In February 2012, EDP notified ODOE that it was waiving the one-year decision requirement so that it could complete baseline wildlife studies and incorporate results into its application for site certificate.
“We were awaiting the results of the studies,” said ODOE Communications Manager Diana Enright.
Littlefield said data collection on wildlife is largely complete and mitigation measures have been developed in case they do decide to move forward with the site certificate in the future.
Enright said the company would have to start over with the notice of intent phase to procure a site certificate.
“They have done a lot of work that may still be valid, but rules and laws change over time, and information such as wildlife data would need to be updated,” she said.