Colorado Democrat makes case for Idaho wind industry

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado made the case for Idaho’s wind industry like no political leader here has done.

Udall said Tuesday, in a speech on the Senate Floor, Idaho’s wind industry already creates 500 jobs, $2 million in lease payments and another $2.5 million in property taxes. Actually that money comes from a 3 percent generation tax instead of property taxes.

The 20 wind plants on line or under construction produce enough power to light 160,000 homes, Udall said. Already wind produces 8.2 percent of Idaho’s electric power.

But Udall, who is pushing for the extension of the federal production tax credit, which ends Dec. 31, said the Department of Energy estimates that wind could meet 218 percent of the state’s electricity needs. Idaho is 23rd in wind resource potential among states, DOE said.

“Idaho is a state with a vast untapped potential for wind energy,” Udall said.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will hold a hearing next week on how to price renewable energy projects for the state's utilities that will have more impact on wind's future here than the production tax credit.

So tired of irrigators and Idaho Power bullying

A half century ago it was Idaho Power and the Snake River plain irrigators that fought to build the Hells Canyon dams that cut off salmon runs throughout southern Idaho and pushed to maintain a weak link to the pacific northwest transmission grid... both things coming back to haunt us now. This all was to preserve their political power and profits. Now it is the same politics, with Idaho Power leading the charge; fighting wind energy and the needed expansion and interconnection of the high power transmission grid, building new carbon-fueled power plants, instead, and adding these costs onto our electric bills for the next several decades. Does it feel like Idaho Power and the irrigators own both the Legislature and the PUC? I'm used to industry owning our elected officials now (because we Idaho voters can't get smart about this, apparently, in whom we elect to represent OUR interests) but I can't get used to the idea that the regulatory agency, funded entirely by our taxes, that exists for the sole purpose of regulating utilities - power utilities like Idaho Power -- is so blatantly co-opted by same.

I think I understand your position

on Idaho Power's dispute with wind energy & wanting to build their baseloaded carbon-fueled plant. But I'm confused on your statement that they fight interconnection to the transmission grid. Everything that I see on the PUC site(s) and the IRP shows strong efforts to build new transmission lines which would strengthen the Northwest/Intermountain transmission grid?


Try not to forget we enjoy one of the cheapest rates in the nation for power.


Roll Credits

The information and the graphic is provided by the American Wind Energy Association

Any guesses on how much campaign money Udall gets from AWEA?

Senate Floor--- that's one place.
So, Rock, it's a noun and the full noun is capitalized.

Production Tax Credit--- noun.

8th grade (if some commas are added).