Let's put Idaho's massive new wind farm in perspective

Idaho Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter kicked off a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, signing a turbine blade that would be part of the state's 183-megawatt wind farm. That's a heck of a lot of renewable energy — enough to power 40,000 homes, in fact.

When it's done, it'll be the largest wind farm in Idaho, though it'll still be dwarfed by the country's largest wind farms — two of which, the 780MW Roscoe Wind Farm and the 735MW Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, are both in Texas.

Still, the $500 million dollar project in Idaho is a big step for wind energy in the state, which will see 122 wind turbines placed across a 100,000 acre plot of land.

Right now, America is the world's leader when it comes to wind energy, passing up Germany back in 2008. At that time, we were pegged as having a production capacity of 21,000 MW, which means we could keep the lights on in 4.9 million homes across the country with clean, renewable energy. That number has been steadily rising thanks to federal money and deals with private landowners to put down turbines where the NIMBY crowd can't complain about 'em.

The federal grants for renewable energy-related development could be drying up, though, according to GE Energy Financial Services' CEO Alex Urquhard, who releasesd a statement saying, "A federal incentive backing this project, the Treasury Grant, is expiring at year's end. Extending that program and other federal incentives would provide the long-term certainty that investors and manufacturers such as GE need to ensure continued expansion of renewable energy throughout the country."


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