Renewable energy future looks dim in Idaho

By Associated Press:

In 2011, Idaho’s Department of Commerce devoted a 37-page magazine to renewable energy, with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter touting geothermal, wind, solar and biomass. “Sustainable, renewable energy is going to play a big role in Idaho’s future,” Otter proclaimed.

The publication now doubles as a grim recapitulation of projects where the lights have dimmed or gone out.

Hoku Corp.’s $400 million Pocatello solar polysilicon plant has been mothballed, while Transform Solar, Micron Technology Inc.’s energy venture, is dead. A biomass power project at an Emmett sawmill highlighted in the magazine failed, too, forcing its developers this month to pay Idaho Power Co. $200,000 in damages.

Additionally, independent wind and solar entrepreneurs complain Idaho’s policies have suffocated development. The 2011 Commerce publication spoke of Idaho’s renewables “sweet spot” — just as the Idaho Legislature that spring rejected keeping a tax rebate for alternative power producers alive.

Peter Richardson, a Boise energy lawyer and would-be solar developer, contends his industry faces a “train wreck… Read more

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