Report: Oregon could produce enough wind energy to power 9 coal plants if growth continues

Source: By Kelly House, The Oregonian • Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Part of the Shepherds Flat wind operation near Arlington. (Jamie Francis/The Oregonian)
If wind turbines continue to spread across the Oregon landscape at their current rate, within 15 years the state’s wind could produce as much energy as nine coal plants.

Those figures come from an analysis released Thursday by Environment Oregon, a group that advocates for renewable energy.

The 24-page study also estimates that, nationwide, wind could account for 30 eprcent of the nation’s electricity by 2030 if growth remains steady.

Wind has been hailed as a clean, reliable alternative to fossil fuel-based energy sources. It has also faced public relations challenges, including concerns over the health impacts of living near wind farms, and reports of birds dying after colliding with the turbines’ blades.

Portland-based Pacificorp wind energy company is suing the Associated Press to block its access to data about bird death at wind farms.

The wind energy industry has bloomed in Oregon and nationwide in recent years. Last year, Oregon wind operations generated enough energy to power 685,000 homes.

The Environment Oregon report comes at Congress considers whether to renew existing tax credits that encourage wind development.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., supports the credits. Bonamici said in a statement continued wind energy production in Oregon “creates jobs while reducing harmful carbon emissions and contributing to the health of our planet.”