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Massive Wind Farm May Be Built In Idaho

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A proposed wind farm in southern Idaho could become one of the largest in the nation.


The Lava Ridge Wind Project is shooting for a 1,000-megawatt wind farm, which would double the state’s current wind energy production. Wind energy already made up about 15% of Idaho’s total energy generation in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Project makers expect at least some of that energy to be sent to out of Idaho.

“We’re seeing this as a great opportunity to have a project be another industrial export for Idaho and be able to serve customers outside of the state,” said Luke Papez, who’s managing the project for LS Power, the company behind the proposal.

Papez hopes construction will start in 2022, after getting approvals and holding public meetings. That may be an ambitious timeline considering how long it’s taken other wind farms in the region to clear regulatory hurdles, such as the proposed 3,000-megawatt Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project in southern Wyoming, which has been in the works for more than a decade and is scheduled to be completed by 2026.

Lava Ridge Wind Project would be on Bureau of Land Management lands in Jerome, Lincoln and Minidoka counties, and is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs and 20 full-time jobs.

Find reporter Madelyn Beck on Twitter @MadelynBeck8

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.