A large field of wind turbines at Shepherds Flat is under construction in Oregon. The project is nearing completion, and was blocked by the federal government. The claim was that it might interfere with an Oregon radar installation. Now the federal government has withdrawn its opposition and decided to spend additional money upgrading the radar system so that it will function with the wind turbines operating nearby. The wind farm project is now under way once more.
Continuation of the wind farm is a Bipartisan Project. Both of Oregon’s Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, supported this project, along with Republican Congressman Greg Walden. This farm will definitely help Oregon, which is suffering one of the highest rates of unemployment during the financial crisis.
The Shepherds Flat project is one of the largest proposed wind farms in the country, providing more than eight hundred megawatts of power at peak output. Companies are considering installing several other large wind farms in the area, near Arlington, Oregon. Arlington, with about five hundred residents, is famous for its mayor who stripped down to her underwear and posed on top of a fire engine. The mayor lost her next election over that incident, but only by three votes. This is a rural county, with the Columbia River which separates Oregon and Washington on its north border, so a large wind farm with more than three hundred turbines provides a very large economic boost to the local region.
Many wind farms are located in an area called the Columbia Plateau. This area is exposed to strong wind and may provide enough power for several states in the west. The Oregon coast is also a great source of wind energy, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Oregon, California, Washington, and other western states have passed state laws requiring power to be supplied by renewable sources in the near future. More surveys and regulations are required for major wind farms, and the Shepherds Flat proposal is one of the largest. According to Oregon Climate Change, farms that generate less than a hundred and five megawatts may apply to the county authorities for regulatory approval, and larger projects such as the Shepherds Flat plant must get state approval from the Oregon Department of Energy.