Impact on Landscape and Idaho
One of the Magic Valley's largest energy projects crossed a significant hurdle Friday with the release of a draft environmental analysis of its effects. The next step requires your help.
A group in Bingham County is making it clear, they don't want to see any more windmills in the area. A couple dozen concerned citizens gathered outside the Bingham County courthouse Friday to protest wind farm expansions.
"I guess the last thing we were thinking about before we moved in was if we are going to have 75 wind turbines up on the ridgeline from us," says Ray Moravek.
They worry about the noise, wildlife and property value impact but mostly the aesthetics and the recreational space they'll lose.
"It's a beautiful country and the wind turbines really don't fit in to that overall outlook," says Moravek.
Though a final decision has yet to be made, the Blaine County Commission made it clear this week that it does not favor allowing wind energy facilities in the "scenic corridor," the area visible from state Highway 75.
It's the biggest issue the commission faces while continuing deliberations on a proposed ordinance regulating wind energy facilities. The meeting Tuesday at the Old County Courthouse in Hailey was the fifth public hearing on the issue and another, possibly the last, is set for Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 2 p.m.
A local development that met an overwhelming amount of opposition was once approved, only to be denied based on land zoning technicalities.
Some argue that very tall wind turbines should not mix with the scenic Wolverine Canyon area in Bingham County.
Frank VanderSloot released the findings of his own survey on Wednesday. His findings indicate that the majority of people in Bingham County do not want to have anything to do with wind farms.
Now, three species in Idaho have the potential to be listed as endangered within just a few years.
If any is granted federal protection, it could drastically change the nature of development across much of the West, where the open sagebrush-covered lands are still often the focus of development. A critical mass of conflicting factors is on the horizon as the growing energy needs of the West and a concerted push to develop wind energy land squarely in the front yard of two of the regions' most sensitive species.
Plans by two electric utilities to build 1,150 miles of new high-voltage transmission lines across southern Idaho and Wyoming are on schedule, with a draft environmental impact statement on the work expected late this summer. ...Idaho Power began work on a series of environmental studies that will provide crucial information for the draft document.
Developers of a proposed 185-turbine wind farm and the Bureau of Land Management are continuing to gather information on the effects the farm would have on the sagebrush-filled desert southwest of Rogerson.
The 425-megawatt China Mountain Wind Energy Project would be scattered across a 30,700-acre area. Though a draft environmental impact statement on the project is still a year away from release, the BLM this week launched a 30-day comment period on whether three meteorological towers should be placed in the area of the future farm. Several other towers already sit in the area.
After nearly two years of planning, Utah's largest electric utility announced Tuesday that crews had begun constructing a $600 million, 135-mile high-voltage transmission line from a new substation near Downey, Idaho, to an existing substation near the Salt Lake City International Airport.
Rocky Mountain Power spokesman David Eskelsen told the Deseret News that work on the Populus to Terminal transmission line is under way, with the first segment in PacifiCorp's Energy Gateway transmission expansion scheduled for completion in 2010.
Proponents of a proposal to locate a massive power transmission line through southern Blaine County faced an avalanche of criticism Tuesday night when they presented the plan to a standing-room-only crowd in the Carey High School gymnasium.
Energy giant Northwestern Energy, based in Sioux City, S.D., would like to build a 500-kilovolt line through southwestern Montana and southeastern Idaho ...Another reason new transmission lines are needed is to serve the growing green energy market, Jensen said.
"We have got to expand the infrastructure in the country," he said. "There aren't adequate lines going to where the renewables are going to be developed."