Siting Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Facilities
Solar and wind power, a major part of Oregon's renewable energy portfolio, have the potential to generate significant new economic opportunity for struggling rural economies. East of the Cascades, rural communities are seeing an increase in proposals for utility-scale solar and wind installations, a scale that on the one hand offers great economic opportunities, and on the other hand could significantly change the landscape of rural Oregon.
Large solar installations can be over 1000 acres. They are completely fenced, impermeable to migrating wildlife, and unlike wind turbines, you cannot farm below solar panels. Wind turbines carry their own impacts. In order to ensure that new energy facilities are balanced with quality of life and environment for the communities that they will be impacting, 1000 Friends works with farmers, ranchers, energy developers, LCDC, and other groups to establish guidelines and processes that limit negative impacts on productive farmland, scenic vistas, and important wildlife habitat.
LCDC recently adoped rules to govern the location of utility-scale solar installations. 1000 Friends served on the advisory committee that came up with the first draft of that rule, and we continue to advise LCDC and the Legislature on how to ensure that renewable energy development protects farmland, wildlife, and quality of life, while also making room for this great economic opportunity for rural Oregon.