Boise-based Windland, Inc. working in partnership with Shell Wind Energy recently completed a four-year permitting process with the Bureau of Land Management to OK a massive wind turbine power project on BLM land in the Cotterel Mountains near Albion, Idaho. Once completed, the Cotterel Wind Power Project will comprise 98, 300-foot-tall towers equipped with swirling white propellers stretching along 14 miles of ridgeline. Cotterel will provide enough energy to power 50,000 homes, roughly the number of homes in Twin Falls and Jerome and Gooding counties combined. If completed, the project will be the largest wind farm built on federal lands in the last 25 years.
Director Bob Boren reported that the Idaho Consumer-owned Utilities Association (ICUA) has passed a resolution to get hydroelectric power reclassified as "green" energy. The resolution next goes on to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for consideration at the regional and national levels.
"We as Idahoans really need to help our local planners take control of this process and make sure that it doesn't leave us with a legacy of turbines that we'll live with for the next 300 years," said Finnerty.
Greener energy sources such as geothermal wells and sprawling wind farms are being touted as the nation's environmentally friendly answer to energy independence, but so far, alternative energy developers are finding that they face many of the same conflicts as traditional generation plants.
A group of eastern Idaho residents has banded together to oppose a proposed wind farm they say will destroy scenic views and harm wildlife. ...Coalition members said the 300-foot tall wind turbines, miles of roads and traffic will harm wildlife as well as be a disaster for people who like to hike, hunt, ride ATVs and go snowmobiling in the area.
"Can you imagine looking up there and seeing windmills?" Grover said. "It's unbelievable."
"Most wind energy projects that are already in operation are in ongoing violation" of the act, since most birds killed at wind farms are protected, the petition says. The conservancy group alleges a "systemic failure" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enforce the law.
The conflict highlights an ongoing tension between conservationists and a rapidly expanding industry seen as the linchpin of a clean energy future.
Scientists are pretty sure these days just what oil and gas development do to nearby greater sage grouse.
But less is known for sure about wind turbines - which generate noise and provide tall roosts for predators, among other potential issues.
Now, a group of biologists, energy developers and electric utilities is pursuing several long-term projects to study how wind farms affect the bird, which is a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.