Could Solar Power Be Coming To Elmore County?
Elmore County, Idaho ( KBOI ) Green energy could be coming to the Gem State.
A developer wants to build a $220 million solar farm in Elmore County, but not everyone thinks it's a bright idea. The developer is in a legal battle with Idaho Power, which would be required to purchase the energy.
The massive project would the first of its kind in Idaho.
Down the road in Elmore County, developer Robert Paul sees a bright future. Even though tumbleweed and dirt is all that's there now.
Paul explains, "the power that will be generated from the solar panels is enough to power about 45,000 residential homes."
It's a project that will cost more than 200 million dollars. Imagine thousands of solar panels from these utility poles to here on both sides of the road.
But the reason there's still dirt here is, a legal fight over Idaho Power's share of renewable energy credits and how much the power would cost.
Brad Bowlin, a spokesman with Idaho Power says, "customers will likely pay more, but again, it's impossible to say just what the impact would be because there's not a contract at this time."
Paul adds, "the story that Idaho Power tells everybody in the state is that renewable energy is more expensive than conventional fuel, and it's totally not true."
Idaho Power says it has nothing against solar energy, but worries customers will face higher rates.
Within the next two weeks, the state's utility regulator will decide who would get those energy credits.
If that suits the developer, construction could begin in the next month or two and the solar farm could be producing energy by the end of the year.