Selkirk Crest called prime for wind farm; State could market 150-square-mile block to commercial developers
SANDPOINT – The Selkirk Crest would be a great place to put a wind farm, according to the Idaho Department of Water Resources.
A 150-square-mile block of state-owned land on the ridge lines east of Priest Lake ranked among the top three locations in the state for wind farms, the agency recently announced.
State wind power specialists selected three top sites from a list of a dozen around the state that showed promise for wind power development.
The other two top sites are
a 10- to 15-mile ridge line in the Portneuf Mountains south of Lava Hot Springs in Bannock County and a 20-square-mile area in Owyhee County about eight miles northwest of Silver City.
The Selkirks had initially been eliminated from consideration because of environmental concerns. The Selkirk Mountains are home to threatened populations of woodland caribou and grizzly bears.
Wind specialists decided to include the Selkirks after a visit to the site.
But the ridges are perpendicular to prevailing winds, convincing the specialists that such good wind power potential should at least be considered, according to the agency.
Once data measurement is complete, Idaho Energy Division wind specialists will provide the Idaho Department of Lands a comprehensive report that state land managers can use to market the sites for potential commercial wind energy developers.
Wind power developers typically pay $2,000 to $4,000 a year per turbine for land leases.
The Idaho Energy Division now is planning to install anemometers, which measure and record wind speed, at the three sites.
10 October 2002
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