The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has denied most of a petition for reconsideration by the Northwest and Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC) that asked the PUC, among other things, to reverse its Feb. 7 order that temporarily reduced the eligibility cap for wind and solar projects that can qualify for PUC-established rates.
The PUC order said wind and solar project developers that want to be paid a rate published by the commission can be no larger than 100 kW. Previously, projects up to 10 MW could qualify for the published rate.
NIPPC, which represented wind developers in this case, petitioned for reconsideration of the order and asked that the PUC require utilities to immediately implement changes to their integrated resource planning (IRP) methodology and calculate a new rate to be paid small-power producers with projects larger than the previous eligibility cap of 10 MW. That, the wind developers argue, would allow for an IRP-based negotiated rate that is more attractive to developers and would make it no longer necessary to break up their projects to be small enough to qualify for the PUC's published rate. NIPPC also asked the PUC to reinstate the 10 MW eligibility cap for wind and solar projects that seek to be paid the published rate.
The PUC said NIPPC's primary argument is with the 1995 commission-adopted IRP methodology used for larger projects, which was not an issue in this case.
‘Attacking the IRP methodology approved by the commission in 1995 and utilized for the past 16 years in an effort to stop the commission from reducing the eligibility cap for wind and solar projects represents a collateral attack of the commission's final order adopting the IRP methodology,’ the PUC stated.
The PUC intends to examine NIPPC's issues regarding the IRP methodology in a subsequent case.