Library filed under General from Idaho
Following two days of testimony the House State Affairs Committee voted to quash a proposed moratorium on wind power development.
BLACKFOOT, Idaho -- On Tuesday afternoon, Bingham County commissioners shot down the second phase of a wind farm in Bingham county.
The Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission denied a wind company's request for a special use permit to complete the second phase of its wind farm development on Wednesday. Blue Ribbon Energy requested a special use permit to install nine wind turbines.
Sergeant Jeff Edwards says BP Wind Energy reported that one of their wind turbines were shot twice sometime in the last two weeks. The bullets he says hit the top of the turbines near the fins.
The commission voted five to one to deny the request based on a lack of pertinent information and the development's close proximity to homes. "This (would be) the closest wind farm to residences in the county" said Commissioner Brutch Merrill.
The closest proposed wind farm to residential areas in Bingham County was denied by planning and zoning tonight. Blue Ribbon Energy has ten days to appeal this proposal for the Taylor Mountain Wind Farm.
There are 83 wind turbines at the Goshen North wind farm, but that's not it for Ridgeline Energy, they are hoping to build another 75 over at the Meadow Creek wind project, which is just east of the Goshen North one.
"The people who move up where I live do so to get away from the city, to get away from the building and that kind of stuff," said Bryant Belnap, homeowner in Ammon. "And so now the building has come upon us and part of the attractiveness of our neighborhood is gone."
The Panorama Hill, east of Idaho Falls, was up for debate again as Ridgeline Energy and Bonneville County took sides in the battle for another wind farm. The proposed Meadow Creek Wind Farm would sit behind Panorama Hill, just south of Highway 26 near Ririe.
McMurray said that if such towers were abandoned due to a company's bankruptcy, turbine removal would probably fall to the property owners. But it's doubtful landowners would be in a financial position to take them down. Wind companies are currently not required to have a bond in place that would offset site cleanup.
A possible new wind turbine project is on the horizon in Bonneville County. Ridgeline Energy is proposing to build 75 wind turbines east of Idaho Falls. The projected area will be north of a current wind farm under construction, which will soon be finished.
Katie Fite, biodiversity director for Western Watersheds Project, said no conservation plan will be sufficient because after all the fires, China Mountain - southwest of Rogerson - is one of the few places left for sage grouse in the Jarbidge area.
UAMPS is looking to install a 108-megawatt wind farm in Bonneville County, Idaho, and needs cities to commit in advance in order to buy up to 56 wind turbines for the project. Amid the complicated numbers and projections that filled last week's meeting, one aspect became the decision's true hinge: Will the need for renewable energy in the future justify its higher cost now?
"What's especially difficult to balance with this particular issue is that a lot of the community concern seems to be for their views, for the skyline," he said. "From the standpoint of drafting a law, you can't really own a view. When you buy a piece of property you don't have any rights to a view. But it's still a community concern."
Ridgeline Energy is appealing a decision made by the Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Commission after their proposal was shot down last week.
"Their argument was that if you have windmills full length along that ridge line, that it creates a fence or a wall that prohibits development from moving through."
IDACORP Inc., Idaho Power's parent company, surprised wind farm developers Wednesday when it announced that it was no longer accepting proposals from developers to supply the company with 150 megawatts of windpower.
"Since issuing our RFP more than a year ago, the wind energy market has changed dramatically and prices for Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) acquired under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) process have decreased. In light of these changes, we expect to be able to acquire energy resources without concluding the RFP at this time."
Yet, the company does admit the noise from the blade in the wind could reach 80 decibels, comparably to the sound of a freight train 50 feet away. At Wednesday night's hearing, residents and farmers shared their case why turbines should or should not be built in Meadow Creek.
Homeowners living near 115 North near Ririe are banding together in hopes of preventing a major wind farm project from being constructed on land near their homes. "We moved out here from Houston to get away from the industrial concrete jungle, and now we feel like it's following us out here," says Jacque Moravek who moved to the area less than a year ago.