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Pocatello, ID 83201

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What's happening with solar farms in Bannock County?

Solar and wind energy companies are looking to Idaho as a potential home for several large-scale energy projects. For example, the Lava Ridge Wind Project is a proposed commercial-scale wind energy facility made up of about 400 turbines on approximately 84,000 acres near Twin Falls.

In speaking with the Twin Falls County Commissioners about the impacts of this project, and hearing from concerned residents of Bannock County, the Bannock County Board of Commissioners decided to take action to protect the interests of our community.

Bannock County has an ordinance that addresses wind energy projects, but not one that addresses solar energy projects. In order to allow time to create an ordinance that would regulate a solar energy project, the Board of Commissioners enacted a 180-day moratorium on any permits for large-scale energy projects on Oct. 12, 2023.

During this moratorium, applications for any solar farms, wind projects, or other large-scale energy projects will not be accepted by Bannock County.

The Bannock County Planning & Development staff were tasked to write an ordinance to address several concerns, including:

  • Environmental impacts of a large-scale solar energy project, including wildlife migratory patterns, groundwater impacts, and fire fuel mitigation.
  • Rules for decommissioning a large-scale solar energy project to ensure the land is returned to its previous state.
  • Zoning requirements for a large-scale solar energy project to protect the character of our communities, specifically agriculturally-zoned land, and the quality of life of our residents.

A public meeting was held on Monday, Feb. 5, to give the community an opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns.

At the following work session on Feb. 15, the Board of Commissioners voted to have Planning & Development create a new draft ordinance that would ban large-scale solar energy projects and large-scale wind projects in Bannock County. The updated draft of the ordinance can be viewed by clicking here.

The Planning & Development Council held a public hearing for these ordinance amendments on March 5th. The Council voted to approve the amendments, excluding sections 395 and 451. 

On March 26, 2024, the Board of Commissioners heard the Council’s recommendations and public comments at a public hearing. 

Following that public hearing, the Board of Commissioners voted (2-1) to enact the ordinance banning large-scale solar energy and wind projects in Bannock County.

The ordinance may be officially signed and enacted by the Board, potentially on April 4th.

The moratorium on large-scale solar projects ends on April 9, 2024. 

Review the Ordinance

Bannock County Board of Commissioners voted to enact an ordinance to ban large-scale solar energy projects and large-scale wind projects in Bannock County. You can review the draft of this ordinance by clicking here.

The official ordinance with the Commissioners’ signature will be posted here soon.

Review the Ordinance

Bannock County Board of Commissioners voted to enact an ordinance to ban large-scale solar energy projects and large-scale wind projects in Bannock County. You can review the draft of this ordinance by clicking here.

The official ordinance with the Commissioners’ signature will be posted here soon.

Planning & Development

Office hours:
Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Closed all federal holidays.

5500 S. 5th Avenue
​Pocatello, ID  83204
Google Map with directions

Phone: 208-236-7230
Fax: 208-232-2185
​Email: zoning@bannockcounty.us

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