Library from Idaho
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.
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.
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.
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?
Currently, Bingham County's Planning and Zoning Commission does not have any ordinance to help assist them with making decisions on wind turbines. Several drafts have been made to update ...This includes incorporating guidelines for commercial wind turbine development and operation. Several companies have submitted applications to build wind turbines in Bingham.
A controversial power transmission line proposed by NorthWestern Energy will run through Blaine County, though not through the Carey area as previous proposals had indicated. The Sioux Falls, S.D.,-based energy company's project manager, Tom Pankratz, updated Blaine County commissioners on the status of the proposed 500-kilovolt line, called the Mountain States Transmission Intertie, during the commission's regular meeting Tuesday.
A compromise, obviously, is needed between Idaho's economic potential and the realities of Magic Valley agriculture. But it's unclear at this point what such an agreement would look like. Public policy administrators and elected officials are too deeply involved in transmission line siting issues to be honest brokers in this debate.
"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."
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -- A proposal to allow a wind farm east of Idaho Falls has been denied.
"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.
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.
"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.
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.
Ridgeline Energy is taking steps to expand its wind turbine project in the foothills east of Idaho Falls. Wednesday night, the company sought approval for a special use permit from the Bonneville County planning and zoning commission.
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.