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Plans announced for what could be Idaho’s largest wind farm

Wind Turbines at Coachella Valley Wind Farm. File photo

SHOSHONE, Idaho (AP) — Project managers in Idaho have announced plans to build a wind farm in the Magic Valley that could break ground in 2022.

The final cost and size for the Lava Ridge Wind Project is unknown, but managers estimate spending about $1 billion for a farm that could produce up to 1,000 megawatts. If so, it would be the biggest wind farm in Idaho and compete with some of the largest in the world, the Times-News reported Friday.

The 60-turbine, 138-megawatt Cold Springs farm between Bliss and Mountain Home is currently the largest wind project in the state, and one of 18 clustered in south-central Idaho, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

“We’re in the early stages of this,” Magic Valley Energy project manager Luke Papez said. “(The specifics are) going to get worked out in the siting process.”

Lava Ridge would be owned by Magic Valley Energy, an affiliate of LS Power, an energy generation and transmission company with projects nationwide. This will be the first Idaho wind farm for LS Power.

The project would be constructed on Bureau of Land Management land mostly used for grazing and recreation that crosses into parts of Jerome, Lincoln and Minidoka counties, officials said. Shoshone and Dietrich would be the only cities near the wind farm.

About 20 full-time employees would operate and maintain Lava Ridge, Papez said.

Magic Valley Energy does not yet have a buyer lined up for the electricity.

“There’s certainly a growing need all throughout the West for greater amounts of clean energy and carbon-free energy,” Papez said, adding that electricity from the farm could be sent out of state. “This could really put Idaho at the forefront of helping meet those needs across the West.”

Public meetings and opportunities for public comment would be available as the project progresses, Papez said.

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