Despite hopes, renewable energy businesses have rough ride in Idaho

Despite hopes, renewable energy businesses have rough ride in Idaho

Credit: Theresa Palmgren/KTVB

Despite hopes, renewable energy businesses have rough ride in Idaho

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by John Miller/Associated Press

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 1:47 AM

BOISE, Idaho -- 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.
 
That publication now doubles as a grim recapitulation of projects where the lights have dimmed.
 
Hoku Corp.'s $400 million Pocatello solar plant has been mothballed, while Transform Solar, the startup venture of Micron Technology, is dead.
 
A biomass project at an Emmett sawmill failed, forcing developers to pay $200,000 in damages.
 
Additionally, wind and solar entrepreneurs complain Idaho policies have suffocated development.
 
In 2011, legislators ended a state incentive for renewables, while Idaho's electricity regulator has issued a de facto moratorium after utilities complained that renewable projects were hiking rates.
 
It's hardly the optimism of the 2-year-old Commerce magazine that raved about Idaho's renewables "sweet spot."
 
 

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