Massive water, wind and solar Idaho energy project advances

Posted at 10:14 AM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 12:14:05-04

BOISE, Idaho — U.S. officials have initiated a licensing process for an energy project in southwestern Idaho involving water, wind and solar that could power nearly 300,000 homes.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday said it’s starting consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over Endangered Species Act concerns as well as taking public comments on Cat Creek Energy’s proposed Water Storage Renewable Power Station Project.

The company wants to use wind and solar energy to pump water from Anderson Ranch Reservoir into the planned 1,900-acre (770-hectare) Cat Creek Reservoir that could then release the water back into Anderson Ranch Reservoir to generate timely-needed power. The project would mostly be built on private land.

Such systems are viewed as giant batteries because they can hold vast amounts of potential energy for use when needed for the power grid. The systems are seen as possible paths to transition from greenhouse-gas-producing fossil fuels that cause global warming to renewable energy sources that can produce power when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also plans to hold two virtual public meetings. The online meetings are scheduled for June 15 and June 16.