September 4, 2016

Council opposes wind turbines

By CHARLIE VANLEUVEN | The Shelley Pioneer | Wednesday August 31, 2016 |

The Shelley City Council said it was strongly opposed to further wind turbine development in the hills.

When Bingham County Planning and Zoning asked for comment on a proposed plan for up to 11 additional wind turbines east of Firth, Councilman Jeff Kelley had a strong negative response.

“We’ll see them from our homes in our town. You want my comments? I think it’s a mistake. It’s stupidity,” he said.

He suggested that the council pass a resolution opposing wind turbine development. The council unanimously supported the idea and a resolution was unanimously approved.

Kelley explained that wind turbines were not as good as advertised.

“They’re not effective. They raise our power bills. They don’t save the planet,” he said.

City attorney BJ Driscoll agreed with Kelley’s assessment.

“If this was really a great deal, simple economics would allow this to take off,” he said.

Instead, Driscoll explained, wind turbine development’s growth is due to tax credits and subsidies.

Kelley further said that even with the subsidies, the wind turbines don’t return on their investment in 20 years.

He said that wind generation is less than 20 percent effective, while alternatives are 80 to 100 percent effective.

Yet, wind generated power is given priority in allotments of power every year.

Driscoll said that it was the government picking winners and losers.

Clerk Sandy Gaydusek asked if the council wanted her to write that they were opposed.

“Strongly opposed,” said Kelley.

He then put forth a motion for the city to pass a resolution opposed to further development of wind turbines in the hills. Councilwoman Kim Westergard seconded. Councilman Adam French said he would third that, and it was unanimously approved 4-0.

The Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing Sept. 14 at the Bingham County Courthouse in Blackfoot.

Cedar Creek Wind, LLC, has applied for a conditional use permit to develop up to 11 wind turbines in between 1300 and 1500 East and 600 to 725 North, approximately 679 acres.

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