“Why can’t we own it ourselves?” is the question that Randy Joseph asked five years ago as he pondered Oregon's commercial wind farms with hundreds of megawatts of electric power capacity. Now that Oregon has well over a thousand megawatts of commercial wind power, Joseph is reviewing construction bids for his own 3 MW Lime Wind Energy Project with 10 to 14 turbines in Eastern Oregon.
Joseph is a self-employed custom window and door manufacturer and cattle rancher by trade, serves as chairman of the Baker County Planning Commission and Baker County Renewable Energy Committee, and is a board member of Oregon Rural Action, a nonprofit community organization working to promote social justice, agricultural and economic sustainability, and stewardship of the region's land, air and water.
“I had no idea what I was getting into,” admits Joseph in an article in the Daily Journal of Commerce. One might think that Community Wind projects require large plots of land and large investors, but Joseph is showing that partnering with government agencies can provide enough resources to get a small project going. His imagination and dedication led him to develop a plan for a wind power facility using a right-of-way on public land from the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) assisted by a loan from the Oregon Department of Energy.
The BLM manages 20.6 million acres of public lands with wind potential. The BLM Wind Energy program has authorized a total of 192 rights-of-ways for the use of public lands for wind energy production sites. Of these, 25 authorizations have a total installed capacity of 327 megawatts.
The Small Scale Energy Loan Program (SELP) administered by Oregon Department of Energy offers low-interest loans to promote energy conservation and renewable energy resource development. Loans are available to to individuals, businesses, schools, cities, counties, special districts, state and federal agencies, public corporations, cooperatives, tribes, and non-profits in Oregon. A loan may range from several thousand dollars to twenty million dollars, and the program is self supporting with funds raised by Oregon general obligation bonds, while program expenses are paid by borrowers.
View the Lime Wind Energy Project Proposal map.
View the Lime Wind Energy Project Request for Proposals (now closed)