Clearway Announces Commercial Operations at Idaho Wind Farm

April 5, 2024 by Dan McCue
Clearway Announces Commercial Operations at Idaho Wind Farm

BINGHAM COUNTY, Idaho — The Clearway Energy Group, an independent clean energy company based in San Francisco, announced Thursday that its first project in Idaho, Cedar Creek Wind, has begun commercial operations.

The 152 MW wind farm, for which there will be an official ribbon-cutting in June, is expected to generate enough electricity to power 41,000 homes annually.

“We are excited to celebrate commercial operations at Cedar Creek Wind,” said Chris Fox, vice president of construction at Clearway, in a written statement. 

“We’re pleased to introduce a major infrastructure investment in the state which has provided significant construction jobs and which will strengthen Idaho’s economic and energy future through the project’s many years of operations,” Fox added.

The start of operations commences Clearway’s 25-year power purchase agreement with PacifiCorp, which does business as Rocky Mountain Power in southeastern Idaho.

Clearway’s portfolio with PacifiCorp totals over 840 MW including 549 MW of solar and wind in Utah, 141 MW of wind in Wyoming, and now, 152 MW in Idaho.

Company officials said Cedar Creek Wind represents a $250 million investment in Idaho’s economy, creating 175 jobs during construction with over 250,000 hours of injury-free labor. 

“We are thrilled to see the completion of the Cedar Creek Wind project, originally approved in 2008, come to fruition,” said Tiffany Olsen, director of Bingham County Planning & Development, in a written statement.

“Although we understand the clean energy movement can be challenging to accept for some, this long-term investment will provide 3% of the gross wind energy earnings to be returned to the county and taxing districts in the project area which will benefit many county residents,” she continued.

“We welcome the economic diversity and local workforce created during construction and through the ongoing project operations,” she said.

Wanzek Construction, Inc., a MasTec Renewables company, managed the construction of the project.

Clearway originally acquired Cedar Creek Wind from rPlus Energies in 2021.

As of 2020, Idaho Power had contracts with 33 commercial wind projects, representing 625 MWs of possible energy capacity. 

These are 20-year contracts mandated by a federal law that requires utilities like Idaho Power to purchase all the energy generated by certain projects.

Idaho’s most promising wind resources are located in and around the Snake River Plain, which stretches about 400 miles westward from northwest of the state of Wyoming to the Idaho-Oregon border. The plain is a wide, flat bow-shaped depression and covers about a quarter of Idaho.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. wind comprised 17.23% of Idaho’s energy mix in 2022, easily surpassing solar at 4.25%, biomass at <0.56% and geothermal at 0.50%.

Most of Idaho’s electricity is still generated by dams, according to the EIA, which said hydroelectricity makes up 52.78% of the electricity going to the state’s electric grid, and natural gas, which accounts for 24.67% of energy on the state grid.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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