It’s a debate still up in the air.
Will the proposed 150 turbine wind farm be built in Bingham County?
Ridgeline Energy, the company hoping to put up the turbines says the wind in the Wolverine area is some of the best which makes it ideal for generating energy.
But this is just one of many projects they have going on in Eastern Idaho.
The proposed windmills would be very similar to the ones east of Idaho Falls, there would just be up to about 100 more turbines in the Wolverine area, if the project goes through.
The project manager said there are many misconceptions about wind farms, this one especially.
“I have people asking, ‘Why are you building in the Wolverine Canyon’ and we’re really not. We’re building in the high country that overlooks Wolverine Canyon,” said Randy Gardner, Ridgeline Energy Project Manager.
Gardner has studied the wind in Idaho for many years and said some of the best is in the Wolverine Canyon.
“The wind has blown in Idaho since God created Idaho but it’s the economics that make wind viable right now,” Gardner explained.
The renewable energy the windmills produce, Gardner said limits what’s out there.
“Its time for wind and we’re ready to produce it. We have it here; it’s time to take advantage of it,” he said.
But many folks don’t like the turbines. He said as far as the scenery, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
And the wildlife? He said fast-forward 25 years and they’ll be better off since the ranches the windmills will be on will still be there.
And the noise?
“As you can hear, we have one turbine spinning in our background, we have turbines up wind from us, and you can’t hear the turbines very well at all,” Gardner explained while in the midst of the Bonneville County wind farm.
But it’s not just in Bingham County. Ridgeline Energy hopes to plant their turbines in many parts of Eastern Idaho sometime soon.
“We have potential projects in Bonneville County. We have test areas in Madison County, Fremont County, Twin Falls area, and over south of Boise.”
He said this project is good for the economy, good for land owners and he’s confident in the community.
“I believe it is going to happen,” Gardner said firmly. “Idahoans have to decide. We have a resource, we have a need, so how do we fill it?”
A controversy still spinning with opposition.
If Ridgeline Energy gets the green light to build, they hope to start as early as 2009.
So, they say in the next five years about 150 windmills could be spinning in the Wolverine area.
If you’d like to voice your opinion, you can go to the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Committee’s public hearing.
They’ll be discussing whether one of the commissioners had a potential conflict of interest in the initial vote back in April.
That meeting will be on July 9th at 7:00p.m. at the Bingham County Courthouse.
But that’s not to be confused with another, smaller wind turbine project in Bingham County.
The Planning and Zoning Board will meet Wednesday night to decide if Western Energy Company will get a special use permit for the project.
Reported by: Danielle Grant
25 June 2008
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