ONDA supports responsible renewable energy that is planned smart from the start. This means we are dedicated to ensuring renewable energy growth is achieved carefully in Oregon’s high desert.
Renewable Energy in Oregon: A new guide for a responsible energy future
- An overview of the policies, technologies, and issues related to Oregon’s ever-growing energy resource
- Savvy insights and useful information on siting, technologies, opportunities and challenges
- Recommendations for a more efficient and responsible energy future.
Developed in partnership with conservation non-profits throughout the state, this guide recognizes:
- Limiting the threats of climate change means investing in a sustainable energy economy based on energy conservation and renewable energy
- When renewable energy development is planned smart from the start it can minimize environmental and social conflicts. When industrial-scale energy is developed in places that will have low impacts on our natural resources, it encourages a responsible energy future that truly benefits the entire environment
For Oregon, this means building a program that guides projects to low-conflict zones – areas with solar, wind, or geothermal resources that do not contain critical wildlife habitat, wilderness quality lands, or sensitive cultural resources. Policy makers have an opportunity to help advance renewable energy policies that incentivize smart and responsible development. Learn more.
Ahead of the Curve
ONDA began working on energy issues with our 2009 report entitled, "Oregon’s High Desert Wind Energy: Opportunities and Strategies for Responsible Development." Using GIS mapping and analysis, we identified potential wind resources in the high desert with high, moderate and low environmental and social impacts. By understanding where not to go, developers and the decision makers have a better idea where development should occur. We are hopeful that the Governor and land management agencies will use maps like these to provide clear direction to developers on where to go for energy development and where to avoid.
How do we participate in planning? ONDA takes part in public processes around energy permitting and development. We make public comments to agencies, counties, and the Energy Facility Siting Council; we work on technical advisory committees facilitated by counties; and lastly we utilize legal expertise to help make prudent decisions and insure that agencies follow the letter of the law in evaluating impacts. By reviewing project impacts, we are ensuring those places with high sensitivity are avoided, and that any proposed development employs sufficient mitigation to minimize impacts to fish and wildlife.
In addition, we encourage the passage of legislation and policies that will better define what responsible energy development means, require more thorough review of natural resources impacts in permitting and development, and provide incentives for responsible renewable development in Oregon.
Some places are not appropriate for development. While ONDA supports renewable energy, we believe some places are not appropriate for any kind of large-scale development. We've supported many projects, and the only renewable energy project we currently oppose in the high desert is "Steens Wind" -- a now floundering project that had been associated with the North Steens Transmission Line proposed by Columbia Energy Developers. Steens Mountain is a congressionally protected area with known raptor flyways and home to critical Greater sage-grouse habitat. An industrial complex of wind turbines poses a threat to the avian and bat wildlife in the area as well as overall habitat connectivity of the region.