Library from Idaho
It's official, an appeal has been filed with the Bingham County Commissioners regarding the approval of over 100 wind turbines to be erected in Wolverine Canyon. Last month, Bingham County's Planning and Zoning Commission signed off on a special use permit allowing Ridgeline Energy to install 150 windmills east of Firth.
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.
Application for appeal from the decision of Planning and Zoning regarding the special use permit submitted by Ridgeline Energy, LLC Rendered on September 26, 2007.
The company responsible for those windmills now wants to expand. They want 300 additional turbines in the Wolverine Area east of Blackfoot. Many citizens sat in on the Planning and Zoning meeting, waiting for their turn to voice their concerns.
Excerpt of minutes from the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission public hearings on the Ridgeline Energy wind facility slated for Wolverine County. This except includes testimony by Idaho Fish and Game staff biologist Jim Mende.
There is a big concern about global warming and a lot of the Democratic leadership has expressed significant concerns about global warming. But at the end of the day, if you're concerned about global warming, one has to look at nuclear. If you look at a 1000-megawatt nuclear plant, it takes about 500 acres. If you look at a 1,000 megawatt solar plant, it takes about 40,000 acres. If you have a 1,000 megawatt wind farm, it's about 150,000 acres. For baseline generation, it's going to come down to coal and nuclear, and we need them both. It's not one or the other. No matter who is in the presidency or in Congress, we need a sound energy program, and it will likely involve nuclear.
Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) control area covers the western states of the United States including California, Arizona, portions of Montana, Idaho, Nevada etc. See: http://www.nerc.com/regional/ for a full map of the area.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will take comments through Sept. 21 on a proposed resolution to issues that have slowed development of small-wind projects in the state for two years. In 2005, Idaho Power Co., asked for a moratorium on wind development within its territory to allow the utility time to study how much it costs Idaho Power to provide back-up generation when wind output is less than projected. The commission denied the suspension, but agreed to lower the size of wind projects that can qualify for the rates utilities must pay generators of small renewable power projects from 10 megawatts to 100 kilowatts.
State regulators have approved changes in two contracts between Idaho Power Co. and a wind power developer that will allow the developer about another year to get the Elmore County wind projects online before having to pay Idaho Power for the delay.
The plethora of goods and services exempt from Idaho sales and income taxes has lawmakers wondering if the time has come to curb the exemptions. More than 100 exemptions for sales and income taxes keep millions of potential tax revenue out of state coffers, state officials say............One of the newest sales tax exemptions is a break for companies that buy equipment to build wind farms or other alternative energy projects. Tax officials say this makes Idaho more competitive with states like Montana and Oregon that don't have sales taxes.
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.
In a complicated three-to-three vote last Thursday, the entire Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission agreed that, yes, the county should initiate a 180-day moratorium on applications to install wind turbines. It was split, however, over how extensive the moratorium should be. Under the proposed interim moratorium, the county would prohibit the filing of any applications for wind turbine construction. Idaho statute allows counties to adopt interim moratoriums if they state "in writing that an imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare requires the adoption of an interim moratorium." On Tuesday Blaine County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim Graves said the P&Z did not specify what imminent peril exists. He said the commission left that determination to the Blaine County Commission, which will have the ultimate say about whether a moratorium on wind turbines should be put in place.
The proposed settlement, now being finalized for submission to the utilities commission, allows the utilities a discount for wind power, calculated to reflect that "integration" cost. That includes the cost to come up with other power sources when the wind simply doesn't blow.
A final obstacle to a booming Idaho wind-energy industry may be close to cleared, the state's three major utility companies indicate. Idaho Power Co., Avista Corp. and PacifiCorp say they're proposing a deal with wind developers that may lift a temporary restriction on the amount of energy Idaho wind farms can produce. The deal could spawn a legitimate wind-energy industry in southern Idaho if the temporary restriction is lifted, said Gene Fadness, a spokesman for Idaho's Public Utilities Commission, the state's energy regulating agency. The restriction has blocked several wind producers from starting business......Under a federal law, utilities must accept alternative energy at a rate of about $64 per megawatt-hour. The utilities propose lifting the size restriction but cutting the rate by between $5 and $7.50 per megawatt-hour to pay for backup generation when the wind doesn't blow.
It looks like wind power is on the rise in eastern Idaho. Idaho Power announced last week that it is close to settling a complaint filed last year by wind-power developer Jared Grover, who had been fighting a $60 million bill for upgrades to transmission lines. Under an agreement now before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the cost of the upgrades will be reduced to $11 million and split between Grover, Idaho Power and other energy developers who connect to the power grid.
Idaho's three large regulated electric utilities have proposed a settlement with wind developers that they say could resolve cost issues that have slowed development of small wind projects in Idaho. Idaho Power had asked the Public Utilities Commission to place a moratorium on rapidly increasing wind development projects within its territory while the company studied how much it would cost the utility to accept wind-generated power and to provide for backup generation when wind output is less than projected. The commission denied the request, and it reduced the size of wind projects that could qualify for the commission-posted rates that utilities must pay generators of small renewable power projects. It lowered the size of wind projects that qualify for the posted rates from 10 megawatts to 100 kilowatts. Having completed their studies, Idaho Power, Avista Corp. and PacifiCorp are recommending that the published rate for wind-generated power be discounted to allow for wind intermittency and that the size limit of projects that can qualify for the rate be brought back to 10 megawatts.
Idaho Power and a local wind producer have finally reached a deal regarding electricity purchases. This deal will probably set precedence for future wind farms like this one at Fossil Gulch Wind Park.
HAGERMAN - After nine months of back and forth, Idaho Power Co. and a Magic Valley wind farmer have reached an agreement both say could launch a fledgling wind industry in southern Idaho. The deal involves a case dating back to September. Hagerman wind farmer Jared Grover wanted to sell Idaho Power energy produced on his wind farm, but the power company wanted Grover to spend $60 million on transmission system upgrades it said was necessary to incorporate the wind energy. The agreement reached this month cuts Grover's bill to less than $200,000, and Grover said it opens the door for more wind development because many potential wind farmers were waiting to see what happened in his case before starting their own wind farms. The power company agrees. "We hope this will serve as a template for future contracts," said Dennis Lopez, a spokesman for Idaho Power.
Boise, Idaho-based electric utility Idaho Power Co. and Jared Grover, the developer of the Cassia Gulch Wind Park and Cassia Wind Farm, are proposing to settle their dispute over who must pay for transmission upgrades to accommodate new generation in south-central Idaho.
NorthWestern announced plans Tuesday for a transmission line running from Montana to Idaho which it said could carry energy from developing wind power plants to power-hungry markets. The company, which has previously hinted at such a project, said the power line would be operated outside of its regulated utility business and would have no effect on consumer electric rates. A Montana Public Service Commission member, however, said the project could have an indirect effect on prices.