A small nocturnal squirrel is causing FPL Energy to scale back its 300 MW Stateline project in eastern Oregon to 262 MW, but the wind developer says it expects to announce a project expansion in October that will more than make up for the loss of turbines. The Stateline wind farm, which straddles the border of Oregon and Washington (Windpower Monthly, February 2001), was to include 200 MW of installed capacity on the Washington side and another 100 MW on the Oregon side. But the permitting process for the Oregon portion slowed when an environmental survey turned up a colony of endangered Washington ground squirrels. FPL volunteered to scale down the Oregon installation to 82.84 MW in order to work around the squirrel colony, and site certification from the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council is expected in September. FPL also discovered the squirrels in a rocky butte across the border and between working around that colony and removing less efficient turbines from the project, the company has scaled back the Washington portion to 179.52 MW. Found at limited locations in the Columbia River basin, the squirrel, which comes out of its burrow only four months during the year, is considered a sensitive species by both state and federal wildlife agencies. In January 2000, after observing that the squirrel numbers have declined by half over the last ten years, Oregon placed the squirrel on its list of endangered species. Although the species may be listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, it is yet to be listed in Washington.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol