The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will reconsider a Jan. 26 order that granted Idaho Power Co.'s request to hold onto its renewable energy certificates (RECs) rather than sell them on the open market or to other utilities. It will take written comments from the parties in the case through March 30 and will conduct verbal arguments on April 22.
Idaho Power's Elkhorn Wind project in Oregon and its Raft River geothermal project in Idaho generated more than 320,000 MWh of RECs for Idaho Power in 2007 and 2008.
The Jan. 26 order allowed Idaho Power to retire its RECs in anticipation of federal or state legislation that may require utilities to generate a specific amount of energy from renewable sources. Idaho Power said it needed to retire the RECs so that it can represent to renewable energy certification programs and to its customers that it is meeting customer expectations for increased use of renewable energy.
But the Industrial Customers of Idaho Power, an organization representing the utility's largest customers, maintains the RECs have no shelf life and cannot be used to meet future renewable portfolio standards.
The group said the RECs constitute surplus property that should be sold to benefit ratepayers. If the market value of each tag generated through 2008 is between $5 and $6, as suggested by Idaho Power in its application, the value of the RECs produced through 2008 is between $1.6 million and $1.9 million.
Parties to the case include the Idaho Conservation League, the Renewable Northwest Project and the Snake River Alliance, all of which previously submitted comments supporting Idaho Power's petition to retire the RECs.
SOURCE: Idaho Public Utilities Commission