Press "Enter" to skip to content

Federal wind

It’s worth noting once again, just because so much anti-federal wind comes from Idaho, especially in this campaign season.

One of the biggest and best single pieces of economic development in Idaho in the last few years has been a massive wind power project that stands to take advantage of the often fierce winds blowing across the Snake River plains. How substantial an economic development this is shows up in a post by the state Department of Commerce:

GE and its partners, including Boise-based Exergy Development Group, have already begun building the Idaho Wind Partners project – 11 wind farms along the Oregon Trail from Hagerman to Burley.

The $500 million project will become Idaho’s biggest wind project and one of the largest in the entire Pacific Northwest. Once completed, the 11 farms will be able to generate 183 megawatts, enough to power 39,700 Idaho homes.

The project will create 175 construction jobs, 25 permanent jobs and, using federal Energy Department estimates, will support 2,200 full-time jobs a year nationwide. Eight of those jobs are with Precision Communications, which installed 43 miles of fiber optic cable that connects the wind turbines by computer, so they can be remotely shut on and off and monitored.

Jim Woodhead, president of PreCom, said he’s glad Idaho is catching up with its neighbors – Washington, Oregon and Montana – which all have more wind generation than Idaho.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, who better than anyone else exemplifies the attitude that Idaho is just full of rugged individualists who get ‘er done as long as the feds stay off their backs, commented: “Otter said the development of the wind industry is the newest chapter in Idaho’s long history of creating its own power using renewable sources …”

Just below that, though, the department post goes on to say this: “The project was made possible by the 2005 federal energy bill, which included a grant to developers who could begin construction by the end of the year. “This project wouldn’t exist save for the federal grant,” [GE Energy Financial Services President and CEO Alex] Urquhart said. He said more wind projects like this will not be possible unless federal clean energy legislation is passed.”

Those nasty feds, seeding Idaho business again …

Share on Facebook