Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More Windy News

In as many days, the Bingham County Commission has approved another wind turbine project, this time for Western Energy, a local company that has plans to build 66 turbines on a 5,000-acre ranch in the Shelley area. Kudos to the county and the ranchers for working to make this happen. I have a lot more faith in this kind of action than I do any federal action, where there are a lot more power brokers in play.

Earlier this week, the commission approved Idaho’s largest wind farm project, a 150-turbine project that will be spread over 20,212 acres in the Wolverine Canyon area of Bingham County, southeast of Shelley.

When both of these projects are complete, the area will be home to 259 wind turbines. Ridgeline built a 43-turbine project southeast of Idaho Falls in 2005, then sold it to Invenergy LLC. This is the project you can see – faintly – on the foothills east of town as you’re driving into town from the desert.

These companies are in the business, of course, to make a buck. But if they can make a buck off a renewable resource that increases our electrical production without increasing greenhouse gases or dependence on foreign oil, more power to them. Pun intended. Both of these projects could be ready in 2009.

Together, these projects will generate about 713 megawatts – enough to power 463, 450 homes (one megawatt has enough juice to power about 650 homes). That’s enough electricity to power eastern Idaho.

PacifiCorp buys Invenergy’s power, and will be the likely customer for the electricity produced by these two new projects.

These plants – plus a 3.3 megawatt hydroelectric plant on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, proposed by Rigby, Idaho-based Symbiotics, Inc – continue to add to the area’s alternative energy cap. The hydro plant recently won local approval, and must now go to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval, possibly also in 2009.


Kevin Smith said...

For the record, Invenergy bought their project from Ridgeline when it was still in late stage development. Invenergy completed development and negotiated the long term power contract with Pacificorp. Invenergy then financed and constructed the facilities.

Kevin Smith, former Invenergy executive

Brian Davidson said...

Thanks for the clarification.