BLM Approves 200-Megawatt Wind Project in South-Central Idaho

August 23, 2006

Photo of a large group of people in a wintry setting approaching a wind turbine that looms above them in the fog.

St. Paul Island, one of the Aleutian islands, already features a 225-kilowatt Vestas wind turbine, which has stood up well to Alaska's harsh subarctic climate.
Credit: TDX Power

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced on August 15th its completion of an environmental review and approval of a right-of-way grant for the 200-megawatt Cotterel Wind Power Project in Cassia County, Idaho. The wind project is the largest on federal land in 25 years. It will consist of 98 turbines along a ridge on 4,500 acres of land managed by BLM, and the power generated by the project will be distributed through the existing regional power grid. The right-of-way grant clears the way for the project to proceed while including important measures for mitigating its effects on wildlife resources, including sage-grouse, raptors, bats, and migratory birds. An interagency team of federal and state biologists developed the mitigation plan and will continue to monitor wildlife impacts. The project is being developed by Windland, Inc., which plans to begin construction in the fall and bring the plant online next year. See the BLM press release and the project description on the Windland Web site.

The BLM is part of the U.S. Department of Interior, which is also providing a $128,000 grant to help install wind turbines in Alaska. The grant will go to the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc.—a non-profit tribal organization in Anchorage—to hold public meetings and perform environmental assessments to support the installation of hybrid wind and diesel electrical generators for six native communities located along the state's Aleutian Island chain. The Alaska Energy Authority and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are funding the purchase and installation of the wind turbines for the six communities. The region is blessed with the Class 7 wind resources, the highest class and the best for wind power development. See the Interior Department press release.