Library from Utah
Taking easterly winds in a new direction could provide South Weber and Layton residents near the mouth of Weber Canyon with an alternative energy source. That is, if zoning issues can be remedied, costs met, regulations drafted and not-in-my-backyard battles kept to a minimum. Layton Mayor Steve Curtis is interested in his city pursuing wind turbines as an alternative energy source. ...But before officials in any community turn their face to the wind in search of an alternative energy source, an expert associated with the work done on the small wind farm in Spanish Fork has some advice.
Imagine the brouhaha if an oil company built a series of 300-foot-high oil derricks along the foot of Mt. Timpanogas. Or if an advertising firm erected billboards as tall as the Statue of Liberty in front of Y Mountain. The fur would fly. But see how different it is with the Spanish Fork wind farm. State and local dignitaries line up to praise the turbines that are a visual blight at that end of Utah Valley.
A $400 million renewable energy project could begin construction next month and would power roughly a quarter-million Southern California homes. The plan has received no criticism during a public-input phase that ends Oct. 6. An open house Thursday in Milford introduced Beaver County residents to the plan that would put 159 wind turbines - each 262 feet tall - across 40-square miles on public and private land located 10 miles northeast of town.
The wind farm would be located approximately 10 miles northeast of Milford, and when completed could consist of up to 159 wind turbine generators, each up to 262 feet tall with rotor blades up to 328 feet in diameter. The generators, spaced 0.8 miles apart, could generate up to 300 megawatts of electricity continuously. BLM representatives attend the meetings to address public comments and concerns regarding the agency's draft finding of "no significant impact." Lucas Lucero, BLM project manager, said officials would compile and review any and all public comments that come in. The public comment period ends Oct. 6.
The process of tying into the grid has to go through the Utah Municipal Power Agency, which for years has provided electricity to six cities in Utah County, including Spanish Fork, via several sources in and around Utah, including coal-fired power plants and the Glen Canyon Dam. "We encourage wind turbines," said UMPA general manager Leon Pexton. He said demand to tie into UMPA lines is only beginning to surface. "We're just starting to work through that issue." In addition to needing time to figure out how tying in to UMPA's lines would work, Thomas said other issues needing resolutions include determining whether turbines would be a noise nuisance and whether they're installed on the user's land. "It can't be ugly," Thomas added.
The Bureau of Land Management, Cedar City and Fillmore Field Offices announce the availability of a preliminary Environmental Assessment, draft Finding of No Significant Impact and initiation of a 30-day public comment period for the Milford Wind Corridor Project. The project proponent is First Wind, LLC, - formerly known as UPC Wind Management, LLC. ...A preliminary EA has been prepared by CH2M HILL environmental consultants under the direction of the BLM. The EA analyzes possible impact on the environment resulting from construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of the project.
A 19-megawatt, nine-turbine wind-energy facility is up and running, selling electricity to PacifiCorp and representing the first utility-scale wind project in the state's history. "I'm sure others will catch up and pass it, because it's not a big project by wind-energy standards, but it is the biggest in Utah at the moment," said Randolph Mann, vice president of wind development for Edison Mission Group Inc., based in Irvine, Calif. EMG manages the power-generation business and other unregulated subsidiaries of Edison International.
A famous oilman is touting windmills as a solution to the energy crisis, and a few Utahns are jumping on board. ...But there are solid grounds for arguing against the scheme. The much-hyped potential for windpower is itself largely wind. ...In fact, wind power will be an environmental disaster. The turbine blades measure 130 feet long, and weigh 7 tons. Guess who wins in any collision with a bald eagle or other bird? The windmills rise 400 feet above the ground, and because they must catch the breezes, they often hog the ridges and skylines. Do you think Squaw Peak or Mt. Timpanogos would look better with windmills 400 feet high running along their spines?
Reversing its own earlier decision, the Utah Public Service Commission (the "Commission") has concluded that a wind power project must obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity ("CPCN") for a 90-mile transmission line proposed in connection with a wind farm to be built in southwest Utah.
The $21 billion tax package passed last year by the House of Representatives, then defeated by the Senate, would have done serious harm by stifling production and investment. The proposed taxes would not even go to rebuild our deteriorating national infrastructure; they would simply punish U.S. energy companies and be used on a variety of pork-like, speculative projects favored by some in Congress. ...Sen. Bennett's constituents should know that his vote was crucial in removing these unwise provisions and in moving a more realistic energy policy on to final passage and signature.
A bill that sets a goal to have 20 percent of the state's energy come from renewable sources by 2025, passed favorably out of a Senate committee Monday. ...Under the legislation, energy sources that do not emit hydrocarbons or produce greenhouse gases could count toward the 20 percent renewable standard. Nuclear energy would be included in that definition.
The most environmentally sensitive and economical ways to reduce power consumption and improve air quality undoubtedly involve conservation and better efficiency. But few experts maintain these tools by themselves will fill the gap between demand and generating capacity, or between global warming and clean air. Among often cited alternatives to conventional power stations like coal and nuclear-fired plants are those running on the nonpolluting, renewable sources of solar, geothermal and wind power. All have advantages and drawbacks. ..."if we were to build a coal-fueled project and then there would be an extensive carbon tax of one kind or another, either imposed by the state or federal government, that would make the project no longer 'least-cost, least-risk,'" he said. "Least-cost, least-risk" is a standard required by utility regulators in the states PacifiCorp serves. If a plant is built that is considered outside the range of reasonableness, "we're subject to regulatory disallowance," he said. PacifiCorp could find itself docked by regulators. "It kind of pushes us toward natural gas projects and wind power."
According to an article printed in the Deseret Morning News on Dec. 21, the wind farm planned for the Milford area will receive tax subsidies from the state of Utah to the tune of $4.3 million. Since all of the electric power from this subsidized project will be sent to California, it is akin to exporting Utah money, by wire, to the Golden State.
Homeowners in Weber County could soon get permission to place small wind turbines on their homes to generate electricity. Planning commissioners are considering amending zoning rules to allow the practice. ...''We're trying to be as friendly as we can for people who want to generate power that way,'' Western Weber Commissioner Wayne Andreotti said. ''I think it's a good idea because we're all trying to get green.'' Current zoning allows for 40-foot tall windmills only in agricultural areas. The proposal could clear the way for them on half-acre residential lots.
The nine turbines will make up the first wind farm in Utah, which is one of the only Western states without one. ...Currently, the land is worth just more than half a million dollars, Hiskey said. When the windmills and generators are added to the property, it will be worth $25.5 million. "In our first year, we would receive $66,719," she said, referring to what the tax collection will be with the rebate. Mikell said the agreement is the best possible solution for the company as well as the tax beneficiaries. The company will receive a tax break, and land will be developed that could not be used otherwise. "The turbines were actually the least impact thing that could be built there," she said. "Getting something [built on the property] is better than nothing."
Data analyzed from Feb. 1, 2006, through Jan. 31, 2007, determined that Hurricane only ranks as a Class 1 wind-generation site. In order for wind-generation to be a viable option, the site must rank at least a Class 4 out of 7. The analysis showed that Hurricane may get bursts of strong wind, but it simply isn't consistent enough for wind power to be a suitable option for renewable energy source. The report also stated the month with the highest average wind speed was January and the lowest was March. The wind speeds also peaked in the middle of the night and decreased in the morning.
A proposed windmill farm in Spanish Fork cleared a major hurdle Tuesday morning when the Utah County Commission granted the city an easement for the project. The commission voted to grant a 50-foot-wide easement to Spanish Fork city for power lines that will carry electricity from the wind farm to a Rocky Mountain Power substation in Mapleton. The city will pay the county $8,500 for the easement.
PASADENA - The City Council has authorized an agreement with a wind power-generating facility to be constructed in Utah, furthering its stated goal to be more environmentally conscious. The Milford Wind Corridor Phase I is a 200-megawatt generating facility to be constructed in Millard County, Utah. The corridor is just 60 miles from the coal-fired Intermountain Power Project in Delta, Utah, which the council decided not to extend contracts with in December 2006.
Utah’s first major commercial wind farm could begin development this year on South Mountain near Stockton, according to county and state officials. Tasco Engineering Company, a Lehi firm specializing in wind-power generation, is proposing to construct between 20 and 38 wind turbines in the area. The company could eventually put in up to 180 turbines, which would provide as much as 70 megawatts of power, according to a contract between Tasco and Rocky Mountain Power. Julie Orchard, with the Utah Public Service Commission, said wind power projects consistently produce about one third of their maximum capacity. Even at that rate, the Pioneer Ridge project in Stockton could power approximately 20,000 homes for a year. Tasco Engineering refused to comment on its proposed project.
Utah could be on the verge of a wind energy breakthrough, but it’s lacking one vital resource to make it a reality — political willpower. “If we could convince Gov. (Jon) Huntsman that renewables were as important as Real soccer, we could probably have wind turbines up in a matter of months,” said San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams. “I just don’t think that elected and public officials are educated enough to really understand what’s going on in the industry.”