Windland’s conditional-use permit opens a seven-year window for the wind power company to build a transmission line linking its planned wind farm in the Cotterel Mountains between Malta and Albion to existing lines owned by Idaho Power Co. Construction of the wind farm itself is slated to take place during the same period. Both phases of the project are set to be completed by 2014.
Michael Heckler, director of marketing for Windland, said his company designed the transmission line’s route to cross as little private land in Cassia County as possible. Though the line will cross four privately owned lots, he said it will not interfere with areas of high traffic.
Ninety-eight wind energy turbines have just been approved for the top of the Cotterel Mountains.
This makes for the largest wind energy project on federal land in the last 25 years. Both the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management announced they approved the plans.
It was the first joint meeting between the two 15-member groups, both of which include ranchers, scientists and others who advise the BLM on policy decisions. The two groups, accompanied by tribal and environmental representatives, sat through a presentation on the project and then drove onto the site to see a meteorological tower currently measuring wind speeds in the area.
"A day in the field is worth 1,000 issue papers," Jenifer Arnold, associate district manager for the BLM Twin Falls District, told the crowd. ...Though RES states it does not believe any endangered species will be affected, it's up to a BLM-led environmental study to determine just what impact the project would have on the area. Species such as the sage grouse are being examined for listing by the federal government, and BLM officials said they weren't sure how a possible listing would affect the wind project. ...the most pointed questioning by far came from Katie Fite, biodiversity director for the Western Watersheds Project.
Quizzing speakers on the proper way to study wildlife effects and the need for the tower in the first place, Fite said "This is the most inappropriate place on Earth to put a wind farm."
The utilities were concerned that a federal law requiring them to buy renewable energy like wind power from small producers at the same cost they'd pay for other power on the open market didn't fully recognize the cost to cope with an energy source that rises and dies with the wind.
"Wind is unique because of its intermittency," said Bob Lafferty, manager of wholesale marketing and contracts for Avista. "It probably blows about one-third of the time."......
The proposed settlement, now being finalized for submission to the utilities commission, allows the utilities a discount for wind power, calculated to reflect "integration" cost. That includes the cost to come up with other power sources when the wind simply doesn't blow.
Public Utilities Commission members Tuesday had to referee an exchange where the developers' attorney, Peter Richardson, blasted Rocky Mountain Power for suggesting that alternative projects were committing fraud.
Less than 24 hours after they unanimously approved a wind farm in Wolverine Canyon, Bingham County Commissioners gave the go-ahead for another wind farm to be built just three miles away.
Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission denied a special use permit for Western Energy Corporation in May.
Kathleen Clarke, Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), announced completion of an environmental review of the largest wind energy project on Federal land in the last 25 years. Approval of the Record of Decision (ROD) and right-of-way grant for the Cotterel Wind Power Project on 4,500 acres of BLM-managed public land clears the way for the installation of up to 98 turbines on a ridge in south-central Idaho five miles east of Albion in Cassia County.
Before the 11-8 vote, however, Rep. Janice McGeachin told the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday that she knew of two lawmakers who hadn't publicly disclosed their personal financial ties to wind projects while voting on a previous measure this session to extend a tax break for wind energy developers.
Now Lucas is gearing up to fight the development of wind and solar alternative energy plants in the middle of the remaining sagebrush desert habitat that is the home of species ranging from sage grouse to antelope. He's not against the technology. And he is as concerned about reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change as the next environmentalist. ..."I think there's a chance that these big solar farms and wind farms will be obsolete almost as soon as we develop them," Lucas said. "We need to somehow get people engaged directly in producing our own energy."
Currently, the state commission is trying to figure out how best to determine just how much solar developers should be paid by utilities for their electricity. That's to the chagrin of at least one developer, Interconnect Solar of Boise, which fears a delay ordered last week so the state could get a handle on things could doom its project.
Idaho Power Co. representative Randy Allphin presented sobering news to the Bellevue City Council on Thursday about the prospect of harnessing wind energy for electrical generation.
"The wind itself just isn't here," Allphin said.
Council Chairman Chris Koch had invited Allphin to speak on the topic.
Simpson told his colleagues that while he supports renewable energy, wind farms may be responsible for rate hikes in some areas of the Gem State.
A new House bill, gaining support among lawmakers in Boise, could spearhead the construction of renewable energy plants on Idaho's federal lands.
If enacted, HB 500 would open up some of Idaho's endowment lands for the capture of renewable energy such as wind, geothermal or solar rays. That power could be used to satiate Idaho's growing energy needs or be sold to neighboring states.
At the end of April, we told you about the Bingham County Planning and Zoning commission's approval of an application to build a wind turbine farm in the Wolverine Canyon area.
Monday was the deadline for people to submit appeals to the decision.
According to those that work in the Planning and Zoning office, two appeals were filed.
It's a controversy spinning with opposition.
The proposed wind farm in Bingham County isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.
This morning, the commissioners met to discuss whether the Planning and Zoning Committee acted appropriately in their 4-to-3 vote to approve the project.
After three hours of questions and bouncing thoughts back and forth, they couldn't come up with an answer leaving the decision still up in the air. ...The big questions: Will these turbines fit under the zoned "Natural Resource Agricultural Land" and will they change the character of the area.
Idaho Falls businessman and Wolverine Canyon property owner, Frank VanderSloot says wind turbines will not only destroy Mother Nature but may spiral out of control.
"The county doesn't know where they're going to be. The county doesn't know where the 80 miles of roads are going to be and they're just approving it. Point blank," explained VanderSloot.
Ridgeline says Bingham County will essentially be a partner in this endeavor.
An Aug. 13 decision in Bingham County court has delayed development of a 150-turbine wind farm in Wolverine Canyon near the Bingham-Bonneville county line.
Judge Richard St. Clair ruled that because of errors in its application, and some conflicts of interest, Ridgeline Energy would have to go back to the county planning and zoning board to re-apply for a special use permit if it wants to build the Goshen South wind farm.
A local energy company will have to decide whether to appeal a ruling after the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Committee rejects its plans for a wind farm.
Western Energy of Firth proposed to build 66 turbines on a private ranch east of Shelley but a tied vote won't let that happen.
The Planning and Zoning Committee tied the vote 4 to 4 which automatically means they had to deny the special use permit.
So, Western Energy has 10 days from now to appeal that decision. And they said they sure will.
With a 4 to 3 vote, Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commissioners gave Ridgeline Energy the go ahead to build the Wolverine Canyon wind Farm consisting of 150 wind turbines that could be 492 feet tall. But there were some provisions to the approval and they can't break ground just yet. ...And if someone wants to appeal the commission's decision, they have 10 days to do so. And some landowners want to appeal.
It was a hot topic for months in Bingham County last year and Thursday it will be back in the lime light.
The Ridgeline wind turbine project has been proposed to be built on 20,000 acres in Wolverine Canyon in Bingham County. The energy company wants to put in up to 150 turbines.
Last week we told you about the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission approving a special use permit to Ridgeline Energy to install 150 windmills in Wolverine Canyon.
Now concerned land owners and people who use the area for recreation are fighting that decision.
Some of those in attendance at the hearing last Wednesday have banned together and hired an attorney to present an appeal to the Bingham County Commissioners.