IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – A new ruling by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission has a lot of locals upset, while wind enthusiasts celebrate a big victory. The decision will allow the further progression of a deal between Rocky Mountain Power and wind developer Cedar Creek LLC.
But Idaho Rep. Erik Simpson, R-Idaho Falls, says he isn’t happy about the prospect of seeing new wind turbines in Bonneville County.
This week, the commission fully approved three of five sales agreements between Rocky Mountain and wind developer Cedar Creek after a meeting between the two sides.
All five of those sales were previously rejected by the commission.
“It shows the length developers will go to get their way,” Simpson said Friday. “They were unhappy with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission’s decision. So what did they do? They appealed to the federal Energy Regulatory Commission, where they had a federal ruling. So I’m concerned that a precedent has been set, and that’s just the beginning.”
Simpson, who serves on the Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, says wind energy isn’t a fiscally responsible source of power, as it cannot be produced 100 percent of the time.
“The bottom line is any time you see wind farms in your community, and you are a rate payer of an investor on a utility, your power rates will go up as a result of those wind turbines,” Simpson said.
He plans to fight back this legislative session by introducing up to six bills in the House that he says will provide some regulation on the wind power industry and protect taxpayers.
“The taxpayers are already footing a tremendous amount on each one of these wind projects via their federal taxes or their state taxes, and I want to try to control this just a bit,” he said.
Attempts to contact power companies Friday were unsuccessful.
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