TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Leaders of the Magic Valley took a flight to further the discussion about how the Lava Ridge Wind Proposal could bring jobs, energy and money to Southern Idaho.
“I think most of us want to go towards more sustainable uses of energy,” said Bruce Gordon from Ecoflight. “But there is always that factor involved that it can and must be done properly and there are probably certain places where it shouldn’t be done. So, we help with that perspective, we help decision-makers and the community decide what they want.”
Lincoln County Commissioner Rebecca Wood came into the event wanting to see the ways her constituents would be impacted by the potential project.
“The people love to just go out and about in the desert and recreate,” said Wood. “There are some caves out there, there is wildlife where people hunt and obviously there are ranchers grazing the area. So those are things that we really need to be careful of in the future.”
The commissioners who were on the flight told KMVT that they were pleased to see that the landscape in the proposal has minimal potential for other uses, meaning this project could have a minimal impact.
“And to me, as far as impact on the ground, very little in my point of view,” said Jerome County Commissioner Charles Howell. “I think that probably reiterated that I didn’t realize that it was such a vast wasteland.”
Howell was not alone; Wood believes the land in the proposal is best suited for the potential wind turbines.
“It is really rural, it is out there really isolated, it’s very much lava rock. There is not a whole lot of potential on that ground,” Wood said. “It was great to see it. And as long as the project can make sure that it is sensitive to our grazers, I think that it presents a lot of opportunities for the area.”
The proposal is slated to bring over 700 jobs and enough energy to power 300,000 homes.
The next step in the process is an environmental impact survey before a permitting process begins sometime around August.
Copyright 2021 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.