The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments through Jan. 8 on an Idaho Power Co. proposal that would allow the company to retire its renewable energy certificates (RECs) rather than sell them.
Idaho Power's Elkhorn wind project in Oregon and its Raft River geothermal project in south central Idaho have generated more than 320,000 MWh of RECs in 2007 and 2008. Idaho Power wants to hold onto those green tags, so it can represent to its customers that it is meeting customer expectations for increased use of renewable energy.
Standards established by Green-e, an independent certification and verification program for renewable energy, say that green tags sold by utilities from a renewable project cannot be counted twice – by the utility doing the selling and the purchaser. Thus, if Idaho Power sells its RECs, it can no longer represent to customers that the customers are receiving the benefits of those renewable energy projects that carry the RECs.
According to Idaho Power, the Green-e standards prohibit the utility from using visuals of its wind or geothermal projects in charts, graphs or line art as part of the green resources delivered to customers if the RECs that accompany those projects are sold.
Idaho Power acknowledges that Idaho, unlike many other states, does not require its regulated utilities to generate a certain amount of its power from renewable sources. However, retaining the RECs would allow Idaho Power to satisfy any future state or federal laws imposing renewable portfolio standards, the company says.
The commission plans to handle this request in a modified procedure that uses written comments rather than conducting a hearing, unless customer comments can demonstrate a need for a public hearing. Comments are accepted via e-mail by going to puc.idaho.gov and clicking on ‘Comments & Questions.’ Fill in the case number (IPC-E-08-24) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.
SOURCE: Idaho Public Utilities Commission