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The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has approved agreements between Idaho Power Co., an electric utility headquartered in Boise, Idaho, and two Elmore County wind projects - Bennett Creek Windfarm LLC and Hot Springs Windfarm LLC. Energy Vision LLC of Piedmont, Calif., is the developer of both projects.

The projects include 12 wind turbines that will deliver an average 10 MW per month - the maximum output of the projects is 19.8 MW. Under the terms of the agreement, Idaho Power may accept energy delivered in excess of the average 10 MW per month, but will not pay for it.

Both projects are qualified facilities (QF) under the provisions of the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) passed by Congress in the late 1970s.

In August of 2005 the commission reduced the size of the projects that can qualify for an avoided-cost rate from 10 average MW to 100 kW. However, both the Bennett Creek and Hot Springs projects were underway before the commission made the change, so they are grandfathered from the lower size limit.

Both projects, if approved, are scheduled to be operational by Dec. 31. If the projects come online after Dec. 31, Energy Vision will have to pay Idaho Power damages as stated in the agreements.

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