Blue Marmot files appeal

EDP Renewables has filed a notice of intent to appeal with LUBA over the decision by the Lake County Board of Commissioners to deny EDP Renewables a conditional use permit to build the proposed Blue Marmot Solar Facility.

With just a couple of days before the 21-day clock expired on its chance to appeal, lawyers for EDP Renewables and Blue Marmot have filed a notice of intent to appeal with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). No date has been scheduled for oral arguments.

The notice of decision to deny EDP Renewables’ application for a conditional use permit (CUP) for the proposed Blue Marmot solar facility was mailed by the Lake County Planning Department to all parties involved on Wednesday, Nov. 24. That started the clock for EDP Renewables to appeal the decision by the Lake County Board of Commissioners to LUBA. The deadline to file an appeal is 21 days after the letter is sent, which would put the deadline at the end of business on Wednesday, Dec. 15 for the company to file an appeal with LUBA.

The Examiner has reached out to EDP Renewables and its Oregon-based attorney Tim McMahan, attorney with Stoel Rivers LLP in Portland, who has not responded to requests for comment about the appeal. In its notice of intent to appeal, McMahan did not file a brief, which is anticipated at a later date.

Blair Matocha, senior communication manager for EDP Renewables North America, said in a short statement, “Lake County has demonstrated that it is at the forefront of embracing renewable energy projects, leading the way on solar project development throughout Oregon. While we were optimistic we would receive our CUP, EDPR NA (EDP Renewables North America) continues to explore all options for the Blue Marmot project.”

Matocha did confirm that there is a new project manager for the Blue Marmot solar development project — Joe Ross — who had not responded as of press time to comment on the future of the project.

Earlier this year, EDP Renewables decided to go through the Lake County planning process to obtain a CUP for the Blue Marmot Solar project.

The decision came not long after EDP Renewables was able to redesign the project and go from five parcels to one large parcel north of Lakeview.

As part of the project redesign the proposed solar project would not be built on any irrigated farmland.

Going through LUBA was not the only route for EDP Renewables to take with the project, as it had the option of restarting its notice of intent with the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council.

Jennifer Kalez, communications director for the Oregon Department of Energy, said even though EDP Renewables has suspended the EFSC process, the application is still considered “active” and could be re-started by EDP Renewables at the point where it left off or with a revised proposal. If EDP Renewables revises its EFSC proposal then that would begin the public comment period all over again.

Kalez did not say if there is a time limit on when EDP Renewables could re-start its EFSC application, but said the department was reaching out to EDP to see what it intended to do; that was prior to the notice of intent to appeal being filed. Kalez said that EDP Renewables has until October 2022 to either finish the EFSC process under its current notice of intent or to file a revised notice of intent.

The Blue Marmot Solar Facebook page has been taken down, though the Blue Marmot Solar website is still online.

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