The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has accepted a 20-year growth plan for Idaho Power Co., a Boise, Idaho-based electric utility, that calls for 1,300 MW of added generation from wind, geothermal, coal and nuclear resources to meet the demands of its growing customer base. The company recently entered into an agreement with developers of an eastern Oregon wind farm for 100 MW to add to its growing wind portfolio.
According to the commission, acceptance of the plan does not mean that it endorses all of its elements, nor does the commission's acceptance constitute approval of any resource acquisition. The commission requires all regulated electric and gas utilities to file an integrated resource plan (IRP) every two years to describe the utilities' customer base, their current and potential supply-side resources, data and safety monitoring plans, and a risk analysis.
The commission notes Idaho Power's 2006 IRP is an improvement from prior filings, particularly because of its inclusion of transmission upgrades and expansion as a method to acquire new sources of energy supply. The utility plans to gain access to an additional 285 MW as a result of transmission expansion and upgrades that will bring in more power from the Pacific Northwest, the company adds.
Exergy Development Group of Idaho LLC, which develops wind generation, criticized the plan for focusing too strongly on transmission upgrades to the Pacific Northwest, ignoring development to the east and south. Idaho Power says transmission upgrades to the east have been proposed but are not finalized.