Washington, DC – Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that the U.S. Department of Interior has given a green light for the West Butte Wind Project in Central Oregon. The wind farm will produce up to 104 megawatts of electricity for homes and businesses and create jobs now.
“Clean renewable energy, like the electricity West Butte Wind Energy Project will produce, makes our air cleaner and creates jobs,” said Merkley. “The approval will help put people back to work and continue Oregon’s reputation as a clean energy leader. “
“The approval of this wind farm is great news for Oregonians,” Wyden said. “This project will not only create much-needed jobs in rural Oregon, it takes a constructive approach to resolving wildlife conflicts that have hampered this project and other wind energy projects.”
Consisting of up to fifty-two 2.0 to 3.0 megawatt wind turbines on private land in Deschutes and Crook Counties, the project includes an access road and transmission line that would cross about 4.5 miles of Bureau of Land Management lands. BLM is requiring the developer, West Butte Wind Power LLC, to mitigate 9,000 acres of sage grouse habitat by providing funding for the restoration and enhancement of a similar amount and type of habitat on BLM lands.
The company will also provide funds through Crook County to purchase conservation easements for sage grouse management and worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop an Avian (golden eagle) and Bat Protection Plan and prepared a Wildlife Mitigation and Monitoring Plan for Crook County. The project will employ about 70 full-time workers during construction with another 345 workers providing supplies, material, support and offsite services; and pay about $1 million annually to Crook County in property taxes.