Lava Ridge Wind – proposed wind farm
Issues: Climate, Renewable Energy
Partners: Friends of Minidoka, Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Wildlife Federation, Sagebrush Habitat Conservation Fund
Airport Origin : Twin Falls
Convene stakeholders, clean-energy supporters, the press, and concerned Friends of Minidoka affiliates to discuss the proposed Lava Ridge Wind project and see the big-picture aerial perspective.
The Lava Ridge Wind project is a proposed wind farm located 25 miles northeast of Twin Falls in Idaho’s Magic Valley. The project would include up to 400 wind turbines on up to 1,700 acres and produce approximately 1,000 megawatts.
The project is controversial and has a number of potential benefits, as well as concerns. Our overflight convened experts and stakeholders to examine the large project region. The Lava Ridge Wind project could provide around 1,000 jobs during development and twenty permanent jobs, 7.5 million in tax revenues annually, and enough clean energy to power 300,000 homes. However, the project has some people concerned about potential negative impacts to public lands, grazing allotments, wildlife, and aesthetic values. Sage grouse habitat will be a concern, as well as impacts to birds and other native species. Beyond these, one of the main concerns is the project's effects on the Minidoka National Historic Site, the location of the Minidoka War Relocation Center. Around 13,000 Japanese-Americans were imprisoned here during WW2. Friends of Minidoka, a non-profit that educates and supports the experience of those incarcerated at Minidoka, as well as their family members, opposes the project. Wind turbines will greatly obstruct the viewshed at the site and many believe it will desecrate the historic footprint of the remote and isolated settlement.
The BLM plans to release the project's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) this summer or in early fall. The EIS will examine the wind farm proposal along with project alternatives that offer different turbine arrangements and reduced turbine numbers. The alternatives, released by Magic Valley Energy, address concerns and public comment received last fall during the BLM scoping period. Public comment will follow the EIS release.