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ONDA Releases Strategy for Wind Energy Development in Oregon’s High Desert

ONDA and five other conservation groups release a report: Oregon’s High Desert Wind Energy: Opportunities and Strategies for Responsible Development.

May 11, 2009

BEND, OR - Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and five other conservation groups released a report titled Oregon’s High Desert Wind Energy: Opportunities and Strategies for Responsible Development.  The report uses Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis to outline where and how large-scale wind power generation could be approached in Oregon’s high desert while still conserving sensitive wildlife habitats and important natural landscapes. Click here for the full report.

“ONDA supports renewable energy development and believes that such development can help reduce our fossil fuel consumption and help address climate change while creating sustainable economies for rural communities throughout eastern Oregon,” said Brent Fenty, Executive Director of ONDA. “However, there is an urgent need to analyze where wind power potential is the highest and wildlife and social conflicts are the lowest. Such an analysis will ensure that projects can be developed without degradation of desert wildlands and damage to sensitive wildlife populations.”

The report was created through the mapping and analysis of the areas identified by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory as having the best wind power potential.  This data is compared with sensitive natural resources such as Greater sage-grouse breeding areas.  The report includes a narrative outlining the nature of the potential conflicts with wind energy development as well as Best Practices and guidelines to minimize impacts.

ONDA’s hope is that the report will be used by the wind industry, local and state planners, and the public to help site future wind projects responsibly. ONDA drew heavily on studies that have been conducted across the nation regarding the impacts of wind energy and potentially-impacted sensitive wildlife (e.g. sage grouse, raptors, and bats) in formulating its recommendations.

Fenty added that, “this report was designed to be used by multiple audiences. Local, state, and federal regulators will be able use the report to work with developers to guide how and where wind power facilities are permitted. And conservation groups and local citizens will be able use the report to prioritize areas most important for protection while also recognizing areas where environmental conflicts are least significant.”

In addition to ONDA, the report is endorsed by Audubon Society of Portland, Defenders of Wildlife, Hells Canyon Preservation Council, Oregon Chapter Sierra Club, and WildEarth Guardians.

To read the full report CLICK HERE.

Please note that this file is 6.5 MB

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