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Utah utility to build Idaho wind farm

Utah utility to build Idaho wind farm

By Amy Joi O'Donoghue | Posted - Nov. 18, 2010 at 1:38 p.m.



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IDAHO FALLS -- The first wind farm built by a Utah-based utility will some day provide power to an array of Utah communities -- to as far south as Blanding and Enterprise to the northern reaches of the state in Cache County's Hyrum.

Constructed by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), the Horse Butte Wind Project will be located on more than 17,600 acres in Bonneville County, Idaho, near Idaho Falls.

An announcement of the project was made Thursday by the consortium, which draws on 51 members spanning eight states. The initial installation of 32 wind turbine generators will provide 58 megawatts of power to be delivered to communities in Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and California.

The Utah cities of Beaver, Blanding, Brigham City, Eagle Mountain, Ephraim, Enterprise, Fillmore, Hurricane, Hyrum, Kaysville, Lehi, Morgan, Mt. Pleasant, Price, Santa Clara, Springville and Washington have agreed to participate and purchase power, as well as the town of Paragonah and Heber Light and Power.

Jackie Coombs, the group's manager of customer services, said each of the participating cities made a determination of the percentage of renewable energy to be delivered to residents.

The smallest is on board for 100 kilowatts of power while the largest is taking 1,500 kilowatts, she said.

"Each member has a different entitlement," to the energy, she said.

Negotiations over the past year led to agreements that put the project officially on UAMPS' priority list, with construction slated to begin early next month. The wind farm should be completed a year from now, and plans call for future expansion to 99 megawatts of power at an anticipated cost of $250 million.

Project officials say the location of the farm is deal because of an "excellent" wind resource, its remote location and the fact that it is entirely on private land that already includes high-voltage transmission lines.

"This is an exciting day for UAMPS," said Doug Hunter, the organization's general manager. "Our members take their responsibility of planning for the long-term energy needs of their cities and towns very seriously. Adding an additional wind resource to our power supply portfolio is a smart choice that gives our members more options, so they can continue to provide the cleanest, most reliable and affordable electricity possible to their communities."

The project is being funded through a joint private/public venture, with members paying some costs up front.

E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com

Amy Joi O'Donoghue

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