Invenergy seeking permission for eastern Oregon wind farm

Wind farm developer Invenergy is seeking permission to build a big one in Morrow County.

Wind farm developer Invenergy is seeking permission to build a big one in Morrow County. 

Invenergy LLC is seeking approval for a 500-megawatt wind farm in Morrow County, a move being hailed as a sign of life in the wind energy industry.

Chicago-based Invenergy, which developed the 72-megawatt Willow Creek wind farm that straddles Morrow and Gilliam counties, is in a public comment phase with the Oregon Department of Energy and held public meetings last week in Heppner and Stanfield. The project is dubbed the Heppner Wind Energy Project.

Public comments on the project proposal, which would involve up to 335 wind turbines on 61,000 acres of private land, are due Wednesday.

Recharge News reported last week that company representatives declined to say whether or not the project would move forward if the federal Production Tax Credit is not renewed. Renewable energy advocates, who say the incentive is crucial for continuing to build clean energy projects in the U.S., are losing faith that an extension of the credit, set to expire at the end of the year, will come before the November election.

In a statement, Invenergy officials said, "We look forward to working closely with our host community, contributing to its economic development, and harvesting a new supply of clean, renewable energy in Oregon."

According to the East Oregonian, wind energy protesters attended at least one of last week's meetings.

At 500 megwatts, Heppner Wind would be among the state's largest. The massive Shepherds Flat wind farm is expected to generate 840 megawatts when it's fully built out.

Oregon is No. 4 in the country for new wind projects.

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