renewable energy


The coast of Southern Oregon does not have a lot of people, but it has more than enough wind.  And it is a likely place for electrical generation from wind power, especially offshore. 

Photo via

The small southern Oregon town of Talent is getting some statewide attention for its ambitious clean energy plan.

Picture of a wind farm
Philipp Hertzog/Wikimedia Commons

Terra-Gen is proposing to build a large wind farm on the Monument and Bear River Ridges near the Humboldt county town of Scotia. The recent PG&E blackouts have refocused interests on energy generation closer to home.

But environmental groups have raised questions about the project. Now, the Wiyot Tribe has raised objections of their own, saying the project threatens tribal resources and culture. The tribe, along with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority and Humboldt County, are working on an offshore wind proposal of their own.


The winds blowing into Humboldt County from the Pacific make it an attractive place to consider generating electricity from wind.  And the renewable energy company Terra-Gen plans to do just that. 

The project proposal is bold in scale, with up to 60 wind turbines envisioned for high ground near Scotia and Rio Dell.  The visual impact is a concern for some of the people in those community.  We recently heard some of those viewpoints. 

Picture of a wind farm
Philipp Hertzog/Wikimedia Commons

The Humboldt County community of Scotia exists because of industry.  But that does not mean that residents have a fondness for all industry.  

Jess Burns/OPB

Photovoltaic solar cells and wind turbines and crank out a lot of electric power, but not always at the times when that power is most needed.  Battery storage on a large scale is not yet an option, but there are other approaches. 

Those include pumped storage hydro (PSH) operations like the planned Swan Lake Energy Storage Project in the Klamath Basin.  An upper and lower lake with electric pumps and turbines will allow the storage of renewable energy. 

And the project just received a license from FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

Kim Hansen, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The ocean is full of energy, but can we capture it for use in creating electricity?  Lots of people think we can, including the people at the Redwood Coast Energy Authority

RCEA recently announced efforts to pursue a floating wind farm, to capture wind energy offshore. 

This is a project the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust has been working toward for several years now. 

Picture of a wind farm
Philipp Hertzog/Wikimedia Commons

The sun shines and the wind blows, and we can make electricity from those events. 

In fact, a recent study says that up to 80 percent of our electricity needs could be met by these renewable forms of energy.  But there's a catch: we'd have to find ways to store the energy they create--think batteries or something else--until the demand required it. 

Ken Caldeira at the Carnegie Institution for Science co-authored the report. 

Oregon Department of Transportation

It's been more than a year since the Ashland City Council passed the "10 by 20" ordinance.  It was a citizen idea to require the city to generate 10 percent of its power by the year 2020. 

The council adopted the ordinance rather than hold a public vote on it.  But passing ordinances and building electric facilities are two different things, with a number of obstacles on the building part. 

We get an update on putting a major solar installation on city property. 

Public Domain

Oregon homes and cars will use less fuel in the future, under a pair of executive orders issued by Governor Kate Brown this month. 

One order focuses on buildings, with homes and commercial buildings ordered to be ready for solar panels, and "zero energy ready" within a few years. 

The other order focuses on getting more electric vehicles on the road in just three years. 

We focus on the building order; Fred Gant was connected to Earth Advantage, a pro-green-building nonprofit.  Dan Jovick builds green buildings and is co-founder of Jovick Construction

Can The Pacific Ocean Heat Our Buildings?

Oct 12, 2016
Courtesy: Andy Baker

Our coastal waters may not seem all that warm, but the Pacific Ocean actually stores a lot of solar energy.  Could it be possible to use the ocean to heat buildings along the Pacific Northwest Coast? 

Get Electricity: Go Fly A Kite

Apr 29, 2016

  Maybe you've seen those small wind turbines mounted close to the ground in rural areas.  

  And maybe you've noticed that they don't seem to turn terribly fast, even in windy conditions.  That's true, because the faster winds are higher up. So go fly a kite: tethered kites might provide more, and more consistent, electricity.  

Plugging Energy In The Klamath Basin

Feb 24, 2016
Pink Sherbet Photography

The Klamath Basin is almost over-endowed with renewal energy possibilities. 

The sun shines more than 300 days a year, the wind blows briskly at times, and there's all that geothermal energy available beneath the ground. 

So Klamath Falls is an obvious place for a workshop on energy sources in rural areas. 

Such a workshop is set for Friday (Feb. 26), with a variety of agencies and individuals lined up to consider the future. 

Getting Gas From Your Food, In A Good Way

Dec 25, 2015
Hestia Biogas

About the time the winter gas or electric bill shows up, you may start wishing you had another form of fuel to access. 

And you might--from your own food scraps. 

Hestia Home Biogas offers products that convert compost--food scraps and garden waste--into natural gas. 

The Many Alternatives In Alternative Energy

Mar 5, 2015

We still burn lots of coal to light our lights, but over time we put more energy (pun intended) into alternative sources of electricity. 

The city of Astoria, Oregon just added a hydroelectric turbine to its city water system.  Hey, as long as water is falling...

The city got help from the Energy Trust of Oregon on the project. 

Another Approach To Wave Energy

Aug 29, 2014

Waves continue to pound Oregon beaches, practically daring engineers to harness their power. 

But Oregon's major wave-energy project fell apart earlier this year, with no buoy ever deployed. 

Enter M3 Wave, a company with a different approach to harnessing the ocean's power. 

Renewable Energy Options Here At Home

May 20, 2014

If any part of the country should be able to produce clean energy, this is it. 

We're blessed with abundant sunshine through much of the year, wind in some corners, and even geothermal energy underfoot in places. 

So it's time for an assessment, both on what forms of renewable energy are available, and how we're making use of them. 

Renewable Energy > Fossil Fuels

Mar 27, 2014
Picture of a wind farm
Philipp Hertzog/Wikimedia Commons

By all rights, we should be stuck between a rock and a hard place as a society. 

We have more gadgets--electric cars included--requiring energy. 

And the burning of fossil fuels to create electricity contributes to climate change. 

Using Old Energy Leasing Rules On Renewables

Jan 9, 2014
Picture of a wind farm
Philipp Hertzog/Wikimedia Commons

The use of renewable energy is meant to help curtail the use of oil and gas.

But some of the practices of developing oil and gas sources may be adaptable to renewable energy.