West Butte Wind Power Right of Way EIS

Secretary Salazar Approves West Butte Wind Power Project

Date: 07/14/11

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar approved the decision to authorize a road and transmission line right of way across Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-administered lands associated with the West Butte Wind Power Project. This right of way authorization will provide access to private land for the purpose of constructing and operating a 104-megawatt wind turbine facility. Between 34 and 52 wind turbines are proposed for installation onprivate land and they are capable of producing enough energy to power 50,000 homes.

Project Background

West Butte Wind Power LLC (West Butte Wind) is proposing to construct, operate, and maintain a wind energy generation facility in Deschutes and Crook Counties, Oregon. The West Butte Wind Power Project would consist of up to 52 wind turbines, access roads, a substation, an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) facility, collector lines to transmit the generated energy to the substation, and a transmission line to transmit the energy from the project substation to the point of interconnection at an existing Bonneville Power Authority (BPA) transmission line. The type of turbine being proposed would be 2.0 to 3.0 megawatts (MW) in size, providing a maximum of 104 MW of generating capacity for the entire project. The project area is located about 32 miles east of the City of Bend and 30 miles south of the City of Prineville, north of Oregon State Highway 20.

A majority of the project would be located on private lands. However, a portion of the project access road and transmission line would cross approximately 3.8 miles of public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Prineville District. West Butte Wind has applied for right-of-way (ROW) authorization to improve or construct, and operate the access roadway and transmission line across BLM lands (i.e., the Proposed Action). The ROW being requested is 100-feet-wide and would accommodate:

  • a 24-foot-wide permanent access road;
  • a pole-mounted 115-kilovolt (kV) electrical transmission line (the transmission line would be constructed using single wooden poles, 50 to 53 feet in height, spaced at 300 foot intervals);
  • a 14.4-kV electrical utility line under hung on the transmission line pole structures described above; and
  • a fiber optic communication line that is also located on the transmission line poles.

Final Environmental Impact Statement Now Available

The Bureau of Land Management has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to analyze the effects of allowing West Butte Wind Power LLC (the Applicant) to improve and operate a four mile long access road and transmission line across BLM managed public land. The Project Area is located 32 miles east of the city of Bend and 30 miles south of the city of Prineville.

The FEIS also analyzes an alternative where the transmission line would still cross four miles of public land, but the access road would be mostly on private land rather than crossing public land. The proposed right of way is part of the Applicant's proposal to construct, operate and maintain a wind generation facility on private lands in Deschutes and Crook counties, Oregon.

The FEIS is available for review for 30 days, after which the BLM will issue a Record of Decision approving the road and utility right of way, approving it with conditions, or denying it.

For further information on this project please contact one of the following employees at the Prineville District Office, phone (541) 416-6700: Steve Storo, Project Lead; Teal Purrington, Environmental Coordinator; Christina Lilienthal, Public Affairs Specialist; or Steve Robertson, Associate District Manager.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement

The Draft West Butte Wind Power Right of Way Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was available for a 45 day public comment period. The 45 day comment period began on April 2nd, 2010 and closed on May 17th, 2010. The purpose of the comment period was to ensure the Final EIS includes an appropriate range of reasonable alternatives to the Proposed Action, and that the analysis of effects is complete, appropriately presenting and interpreting the available published information.