wind energy

Harvey McDaniel / Wikimedia

Oregon and Washington could transition from fossil fuels to renewable power by the year 2030.

According to new reports, developing those renewables would create hundreds of thousands of jobs for the region.

Solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, geothermal and waste-to-energy electricity production could account for 98 percent of Oregon’s and Washington’s electricity needs in just 15 years. That’s according to new reports out from the Wind Energy Foundation, a group that promotes wind development.

Lee Carson

An unprecedented number of bats are being killed by wind turbine blades. A new report has found bats may be mistaking wind turbines for trees.

Bats are often looking for a place to roost when the moon is bright and winds are low. That’s when the conditions can be the deadliest for bats flying near wind turbines.

U.S. Geological Survey researchers used infrared video to track movements at a wind farm. They saw more bats approaching the turbines when the blades were moving slower than when they were moving faster.

Floating Offshore Wind Farm Gets A Green Light

Feb 6, 2014
Kim Hansen / Wikimedia

A proposal to build a floating wind farm off the coast of Southern Oregon took a step forward Wednesday. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Gov. John Kitzhaber announced that a Seattle developer is now free to submit plans for the project. 

Thad Westhusing

The Washington Supreme Court Thursday decided that the Northwest’s first wind farm in a forested, mountainous area can move forward. Environmental groups had challenged its proximity to the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and it's effect on wildlife habitat.

Oregon lawmakers plan to take another look at a series of tax credits issued to an eastern Oregon wind farm. Legislators will hold a hearing to examine the project.

The renewable energy tax credit program was already controversial because lawmakers hadn't expected such an enormous response when they revamped it in 2007. Now, one New York-based company is under extra scrutiny for getting a $30 million tax credit for a wind farm known as Shepherds Flat.

Some lawmakers and lobbyists say the deal was three times as lucrative for the company as it should have been.

Courtney Flatt

You’ve probably seen large wind farms spinning on ridgelines across the Northwest. A new study has found a growing trend throughout the Northwest: small wind turbines. These are mostly single turbines in people’s backyards, on farms, or supplementing power for businesses.

After years of complaints, one Northwest man is suing an energy company that built a wind farm near his home. Residents have complained that noise from the turbines is affecting their health.

A new battery power storage system that may provide some long term solutions to storing power from the electrical grid is being tested in the Tri-Cities. Steve Jackson reports.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest Public Radio

Wind isn’t always a reliable source of power. Sometimes the wind blows when there is already too much power on the grid. And sometimes there is no wind when energy is needed.

Washington Supreme Court Hears Wind Farm Case

Jul 1, 2013

The Supreme Court of Washington Thursday heard arguments in a case about a controversial wind farm in the Columbia River Gorge. Then-Governor Chris Gregoire approved the project more than a year ago. Environmentalists say it will harm wildlife, recreation, and scenic views. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Renewable energy storage is one step closer becoming a reality in the Northwest. Researchers are proposing a new system that could store enough wind energy to power 80,000 homes for a month. But researchers aren’t proposing fields lined with batteries. They’re using some of the Columbia River Basin’s natural geography and compressed air.

Tall, noisy wind turbines may not go over well in some urban areas. A Northwest company has developed residential-sized turbines to push renewable energy to cities. The portable turbines could also generate power during disasters.

You may have seen wind turbines springing up all over the Pacific Northwest in the past decade. So far this year, the region’s wind industry has faced a different story. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

If you use solar panels or wind turbines to generate your own power, you can sell the electricity you don’t use back to your utility. But one Northwest power company wants to stop sending checks to customers who are big energy producers. EarthFix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Oregon Adds Wave And Offshore Wind Zones To Its Sea Plan

Jan 28, 2013

Oregon adopted new zoning rules for its territorial sea yesterday. The rules set aside about 2 percent of the Oregon coast for wave and offshore wind energy. Amelia Templeton from our EarthFix team reports the decision was not welcomed by some Dungeness crab fisherman.

Wind Power Tax Credit to Expire Soon

Dec 31, 2012

Some clean energy jobs will disappear from the Pacific Northwest in 2013. Industry leaders say that’s a consequence of letting a wind tax credit expire on Monday. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Seattle Firm Wins Grant To Build Offshore Wind Platform

Dec 13, 2012

Seattle company Principle Power wants to take turbines out to sea. The feds today awarded the company 4 million dollars to design an offshore wind power facility. It would be anchored off the Oregon coast near Coos Bay. Amelia Templeton reports.

Chris Lehman

High winds and heavy rain are pummeling the Northwest Monday. Downed trees and floodwaters have closed countless roads, making the evening commute a difficult one. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman went to check out a creek near his home.

A global wind company with offices in the Pacific Northwest has announced more layoffs. Vestas says it will cut an additional 3,000 jobs by the end of next year. That nearly doubles the number of jobs the wind turbine company had planned to eliminate.

Tedder / Wikimedia Commons

President Obama has blocked a Chinese company from building wind farms in northeastern Oregon. the president cited national security concerns at a nearby Navy facility.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

A federal energy regulator sided with wind energy producers in their dispute with Idaho Power. Earthfix Reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Photo Credit: Paul Anderson/Wiki Commons

A wind tower manufacturer in Richland, Wash. says it’s closing plants in Washington and Nebraska.

Annawjacbos / Wikimedia Commons

A wind tower manufacturer says it’s closing plants in Washington and Nebraska. Manufacturing company Katana Summit is looking for a buyer for its operations in the two states. If that doesn’t happen by November 1, the plants will shut down.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

There’s been some speculation over the years as to how wind farms would hold up in the event of a large wildfire. Now, the verdict is in. From EarthFix, Courtney Flatt reports a central Washington wind farm was not damaged.

Scorched earth surrounds wind turbines just outside Cle Elum, Washington. A fire that drove through over the last week and a half destroyed more than 50 houses and has burned an estimated 23,000 acres. It did not burn 48 wind turbines.

Operations manager Eric Melbardis says gravel landscaping protected the turbines from the fire.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Electric utilities in the Northwest have overachieved in meeting requirements to add renewable energy to their portfolios. That's according to fresh regulatory filings.

Photo credit: Harvey McDaniel / Wikimedia Commons

You may be familiar with the sight of wind turbine generators in the Columbia Gorge, but soon, dozens of the tall structures will be built some 40 miles south of Spokane.

Wind farms along the Columbia River were asked to shut down for about 10 hours over the weekend. For the second year in a row, spring rain and snowmelt have led to an oversupply of hydropower on the Columbia River. Amelia Templeton reports.

A prominent wind energy company – with North American headquarters in the Pacific Northwest – may be acquired by a rival Chinese corporation. Correspondent Courtney Flatt has more.

A Danish newspaper is reporting that two Chinese companies are considering takeover bids for Vestas Wind Systems. The Danish firm’s North American headquarters are based in Portland.

Vestas has faced financial trouble over the past year. The company’s chairman and chief financial officer resigned in February.

Sec. Salazar Announces New Rules for Wind Farms To Protect Wildlife

Mar 23, 2012
Photo credit: Wikimedia user Harvey McDaniel / Wikimedia Commons

The Obama administration released new rules Friday for protecting wildlife from wind farms.

In a morning news conference, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the voluntary rules offer ways to reduce the number of birds and bats that are harmed by wind farms. They focus on choosing sites with low wildlife risks, and designing the sites to avoid disturbing habitat.

Photo by James McCauley / Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – Wind farms have generated a record-breaking amount of power this month. As correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, the Bonneville Power Administration is hoping to avoid over-generation problems that happened last spring.