Addressing the Impact of Wind Turbines
Today, Idaho’s Snake River plain hosts 973 megawatts of wind turbines—the same size as a major coal plant. This rapid development of Idaho’s clean energy resources has spawned conflicts with utilities and local communities. ICL seeks to resolve these conflicts because capturing Idaho’s own clean energy resources avoids burning fossil fuels and polluting our air, land and water.
Protecting Wildlife and Landscapes
ICL also seeks to balance promoting wind with protecting the landscapes and wildlife Idahoans cherish. Wind turbines may not spew pollution, but they do have towers that are hundreds of feet tall with blades sweeping across a football-field area of the sky. Birds are struck and bats suffer barotrauma when flying near the spinning blades. Other species, like sage-grouse, will abandon the area around wind developments, thereby shrinking their habitat. This is why ICL focuses on putting wind energy in its place, and not in special places like China Mountain.
Respecting Local Communities
The tall wind turbines can change the view of Idaho’s landscapes. In places without adequate public notice, land use planning and turbine location guidelines, local conflicts have led to some creative advertising. ICL supports statewide standards for wind turbine siting that include effective local input and protect wildlife and landscapes.
Ensuring Fair Electricity Prices
All new energy sources can be calculated to be more expensive than dirty coal plants, but only by ignoring the costs of polluting our air, land and water with the acid gases, green house gases, toxics, and ash piles left behind from burning coal. Idaho pays for the transition beyond coal to clean energy through our power bills. To ensure these bills remain fair and affordable ICL engages in cases before the Public Utilities Commission to set electric rates and review utility investments. Fortunately, as the cost of wind declines ICL establishes that clean energy is not only good for Idaho’s environment, but good for our pocketbooks as well.