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Avian lobby backs Oregon wind farm

A 24.9 MW wind project in Oregon state being developed by ESI Energy Inc (see above) is not only proceeding, it even has the backing of local avian advocates. Construction in Umatilla County on the so-called "Vansycle project," in farmland near Walla Walla, is expected to go ahead in the spring and it is to be on-line in the summer of 1999, says ESI's Dale Thomas. He also says the turbine model for the project has not yet been chosen. The local chapter of the bird group Audubon backed the proposal, significant because wind projects have sometimes been opposed when they are being proposed in wilderness areas. The area is heavily agricultural, and some members of the planning commission are also local farmers who support the concept of wind farming. ESI bought the assets of the one time Kenetech project from Zond around the time that Zond was taken over by Enron Corp. Enron subsequently merged with the buyer of power from the planned Zond wind farm, Portland General Electric (PGE). The project's conditional use permit, received from the county planning department on October 30, was not challenged. That means the project is able to proceed.

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