Articles from Idaho
Idaho Power is seeking approval from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to buy power from wind-power producers. The company is hoping for 100 megawatts of wind energy from the Elkhorn Wind Power Project, to be located in eastern Oregon. Idaho Power hopes the project will deliver power during critical summer months when irrigation and other uses are high, and prices from the wholesale market are also high.
A Magic Valley wind farmer and Idaho Power Co. are close to reaching an agreement that could launch a small-farm wind industry near Hagerman. The potential deal comes after months of wrangling between the power company and two Magic Valley wind farms that could generate 200 megawatts of zero-emission energy. The battle began in September, when Jared Grover resisted paying the power company $60 million to upgrade its grid to accommodate two wind farms, Cassia Gulch Wind Park and Cassia Wind Farm. Grover has interests in both projects. The power company said that incorporating wind farms from that area would require transmission system up-grades. Grover said it’s up to the utility company to finance infrastructure improvements - wind farmers already pay to connect to the power system. The power company said it’ll have to pass the costs on to customers if it pays for the upgrades.
“We’re very much in favor of alternative energy solutions,” longtime East Fork resident Carl Bontrager said Tuesday morning as the Blaine County Board of Commissioners opened their first meeting of 2007 with a session for unscheduled public comment. “But I was very surprised to find out that windmills are an apparently an allowed use as an accessory structure in Blaine County and doesn’t require any neighbor notification, hearings or anything.” What? Ultra-progressive Blaine County with someone actually questioning the appropriateness of wind-generated energy? Bontrager asked the commission to consider what -besides guilt-free electricity- a windmill can produce.
Despite the potential of wind as an alternate energy source for Idaho, a recent proposal by Idaho Power Company makes some wind developer plans seem quixotic at best. The state's largest utility wants some of the windmill wild-catters to pay for power grid upgrades to transmission lines and then some. At issue is just who should pay for the upgrade of a power transmission line in the Twin Falls area, which would be used by two wind farms near Hagerman. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is now reviewing a complaint filed by Cassia Gulch Wind Park and Cassia Wind Farm. The wind farmers say that an Idaho Power plan to require small-power producers to pay for nearly $60 million in transmission upgrades threatens the economic viability of a number of wind projects. Energy developers have big plans for wind power in Idaho, which ranks as the 13th windiest state in the nation. According to the Idaho Energy Commission, 42 wind farm projects around the state are in various stages of development, with a combined potential output of 1,500-2,000 megawatts of electricity. Since 1 megawatt is enough juice to power 650 homes, current plans would be enough to power 1.3 million homes. Of course, this is only if the wind blows steadily, which it never does. Intermittency is the bugaboo with this clean energy source.
At just the time of year when work output slows to a crawl in many organizations, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission is being asked to render a tough decision quickly in a case that has far-reaching implications for wind project development in the state. In September, Jared Grover, developer of the proposed Cassia Gulch Wind Park and Cassia Wind Farm near Hagerman, Idaho, filed a complaint with the commission challenging Idaho Power's intent to charge wind developers the estimated $60 million costs of transmission system upgrades needed to accommodate nearly 200 MW of capacity expected from such projects. Grover's portion of this upgrade would be about $7 million, an amount he says would force him to scrap his projects and would sound the death knell for many other wind projects pending in Idaho.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments through Thursday on an application by Idaho Power Co. to enter into a sales agreement with Magic Wind Park LLC. Magic Wind developer Armand Eckert of Buhl plans to install eight 2.5-megawatt wind turbines eight miles northwest of Buhl. Under the proposed agreement, Magic Wind would not generate more than 10 average megawatts on a monthly basis.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case that will play a big role in future development of wind power in the Gem State. A complaint filed by Cassia Gulch Wind Park and Cassia Wind Farm alleges an Idaho Power requirement that small-power producers pay for nearly $60 million in transmission upgrades will stifle the economic development of a number of wind projects and delay development of renewable energy in Idaho. “If we’re saddled with a $50 to $60 million burden, there’s no way I could entertain any investors to take on that risk,” said Jared Grover, the developer of the Cassia wind projects near Hagerman, in an interview with CBS 2 News.
Government, companies once abandoned idea but now see geothermal power as part of energy equation
A Canadian company's plan to build electrical transmission lines might provide a way for Idaho National Laboratory to sell nuclear power someday, a lab spokesman says. TransCanada's NorthernLights project includes three electrical transmission lines in the Pacific Northwest by 2012, including two that would run through southeastern Idaho. The two high-voltage, direct-current lines — one from Montana, the other from Wyoming — would come together in southeastern Idaho and weave south to Las Vegas. They will carry energy from coal, wind power and other sources.
BONE, Idaho -- Forty-three wind turbines, each as tall as a 20-story building, rise from the rolling hills around Bone and stretch for nearly six miles across southeastern Idaho. Steve Rhodes, whose family has ranched and farmed here for four generations, admits that the windmills "took some getting used to."
Idaho Power Co., the state’s largest utility, has told the Idaho Public Utilities Commission that wind farmers should pay the millions of dollars for upgrades needed to connect them to the power grid. Wind farmers say Idaho Power should pay for the upgrades, as required by a 1978 law. The commission is hearing arguments over the dispute.
At the halfway point between the West Coast energy crisis of 2001 and the next major electricity contract renewal year of 2011, a federal power marketing agency is proposing a policy change that could affect rates in the Pacific Northwest for generations and become a national model for energy development. Northwest hydropower is one of the cheapest energy resources in the nation - about half the current market rate for electricity. The Bonneville Power Administration - which sells power in all of Washington, Oregon and Idaho and parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana - announced this summer it wants to change the way it charges utilities for its wholesale power, to keep rates low.
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.
People who live 20 miles outside of Blackfoot might have a new windy neighbor if an application is approved by Planning and Zoning tonight. Lava Beds Wind Farm is waiting on a decision from Bingham County Planning and Zoning to create a wind farm. Their application is for 18 windmills on 2,000 to 3,000 acres. The property is from 500 to 1000 North and 1900 to 2100 West. With the lack of feedback from the community, officials feel the meeting will go smoothly tonight
They've considered more hydroelectric plants, but depending on the water year they can be unreliable. They’ve also thought of wind turbines, but again those are only as reliable as the wind, and according to them nuclear power isn’t an option for at least 20 years.
Kathleen Clarke, Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), announced completion of an environmental review of the largest wind energy project on Federal land in the last 25 years. Approval of the Record of Decision (ROD) and right-of-way grant for the Cotterel Wind Power Project on 4,500 acres of BLM-managed public land clears the way for the installation of up to 98 turbines on a ridge in south-central Idaho five miles east of Albion in Cassia County.
The Cotterel wind-energy project in Cassia County is underway, but not with out a fight.
ALBION — Windmills still could whirl and hum on the ridgeline above Albion, but not as soon as a developer had hoped. Any time may be too soon for Albion Valley residents who remain opposed to developing nearly 100 wind turbines on the picturesque Cotterel Mountain. Talk of legal action in an attempt to stop the project has emerged.
Ninety-eight wind energy turbines have just been approved for the top of the Cotterel Mountains. This makes for the largest wind energy project on federal land in the last 25 years. Both the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management announced they approved the plans.
BOISE — State utility regulators denied a local wind developer’s request to amend a sales agreement with Idaho Power Co.