A new “wind farm” has been proposed to be built on federal land across several southern Idaho counties. Magic Valley Energy, under parent company LS Power, is working in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) within the US Department of the Interior. The BLM webpage describes the project:
“Magic Valley Energy (MVE) is seeking authorization to use BLM-managed public lands in southern Idaho to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission the Lava Ridge Wind Project (the project). The project as proposed would consist of up to 400 wind turbines and associated infrastructure, including new and improved roads, powerlines for collection and transmission of electricity, substations, operation and maintenance facilities, and a battery storage facility. The project’s 500-kilovolt generation intertie transmission line would interconnect at Idaho Power Company’s existing Midpoint Substation or at a new substation within the right-of-way corridor of the northern portion of the Southwest Intertie Project. The project’s estimated generation capacity is 1,000 megawatts or more. The project area spans 197,474 acres and all project components would be sited within a series of corridors. These corridors are approximately one-half mile wide and cover approximately 84,385 acres, of which 75,760 acres are located on public lands managed by BLM, 2,910 acres are on state lands managed by the Idaho Department of Lands, 5,417 acres are on private lands, and 288 acres are on lands managed by the Bureau of Reclamation. All wind turbines, powerlines, and associated infrastructure would be located on lands managed by BLM and Idaho Department of Lands. Bureau of Reclamation and private lands would include the use of existing public access roads, but no other project-related infrastructure. The project infrastructure proposed within the corridors is estimated to have a 2,374-acre footprint and a total disturbance area of 9,114 acres.”
This map shows the proposed area of impact across Twin Falls County, Jerome County, Minidoka County, Lincoln County, and Cassia County, Idaho.
What is the reason for this project? From the Bureau of Land Management’s Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement,
“Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action
In Executive Order 14008, President Biden emphasized the need for the United States to “deploy the full capacity of its agencies to combat the climate crisis” in an approach that focuses attention on “innovation, commercialization, and deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure.” The Department of the Interior (DOI) has prioritized “identifying steps to accelerate responsible development of renewable energy on public lands and waters.”Advertisement
Magic Valley Energy’s, LLC (MVE) goal for Lava Ridge is to construct and operate a commercial-scale wind energy facility that reliably and economically produces wind energy for delivery to power markets in the western United States. This goal arises from regulatory, utility, and consumer-driven objectives to incorporate new renewable and carbon-free energy sources into energy supply portfolios. Substantial increases in new renewable energy are required to meet this need.”
A group called Friends of Minidoka explains some of their objections to the proposed project on their website:Lava Ridge one pager_2_3_final
“Wind Turbines Would Dishonor Sacred GroundAdvertisement
In 2009, LS Power, a New York private equity company, tried to build a powerline over Minidoka. Thankfully, the Department of the Interior moved LS Power’s Southwest Intertie Project (SWIP) power line away from the park. Today, LS Power seeks approval from the Bureau of Land Management to build the giant Lava Ridge wind project on federal land within two miles of the park’s visitor center.
• The project would impair Minidoka’s fundamental resources and values as a place to learn about the incarceration story.
• LS Power’s project would dishonor Japanese Americans and Alaska Natives who were wrongly incarcerated and who served in the military during WWII.
• Minidoka is a sacred place for commemoration and healing. Survivors and their descendants make pilgrimages to heal the deep emotional trauma dating back to the 1940s.
• Minidoka tells stories of courage and sacrifice to current and future generations and helps ensure this does not happen again.
• Eighty years after Executive Order 9066, Minidoka can help the public understand that racial prejudice, hate and violence directed against the AAPI community are not new.”
The group created this infographic to illustrate the size and scale of the proposed turbines across thousands of acres.
All BLM documents related to this project can be viewed here, with links for public participation and comments: EplanningUi (blm.gov)
On April 6, 2023, Commissioners from the five directly affected counties plus two more came together to sign a joint resolution to try to stop the proposed Lava Ridge wind farm project. The counties represented were Twin Falls, Jerome, Gooding, Lincoln, Minidoka, Cassia, and Washington. Stop Lava Ridge, Joint Multi-County Resolution Signing, April 6, 2023 (rumble.com)
After the resolution signing, David with the Idaho Dispatch spoke to Eric Parker about the proposed project: Eric Parker Discusses the Proposed Lava Ridge Project (rumble.com)
Idaho GOP Chairwoman Dorothy Moon wrote about the project here: Op-Ed: Don’t Let the Feds Make Idaho a Vassal of California – Idaho Dispatch
A rally is planned for this evening at the Twin Falls City Hall Plaza
Article Feature Photo courtesy of Exxon Mobil.
Tags: BLM, Bureau of Land Management, Cassia County, Department of the Interior, Energy, Federal Land, Idaho Land, Jerome County, Joe Biden, Lincoln County, Minidoka County, Renewable Energy, Twin Falls County, Wind Farm, Wind power, Wind Turbine