Idaho Power Co. is asking the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to accept or reject proposed sales agreements with the developer of four wind farms in the Rogerson area. The PUC is accepting written comment on the sales agreements through Jan. 31. The developer for all the projects is James Carkulis of Boise-based Exergy Development.
All four projects are proposed for acceptance under the provisions of the federal Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). Idaho Power says it is complying with its PURPA mandate to accept power generated from qualifying renewable facilities but states that the ‘continuing and unchecked requirement’ for the company to acquire additional intermittent generation regardless of the utility's need for additional energy ‘increases the price its customers must pay for their energy needs.’
Idaho Power also stated that the PURPA requirement is circumventing its planning process and creating system reliability and operational issues.
Last November, Idaho Power, along with two other regulated electric utilities operating in Idaho, asked the PUC to immediately reduce the size of projects eligible for posted PURPA rates from the current 10 MW.
All four of the proposed Rogerson wind projects would deliver up to 10 average MW per month under the proposed agreements. However, the agreements also state that Idaho Power can curtail generation from the projects without compensation to the developer under certain conditions.
Those conditions include times when generation on Idaho Power's total system approaches minimum levels needed to serve customers and further acceptance of the wind would have a detrimental effect on the utility's ability to simultaneously manage the generation also coming from thermal, hydro and other resources.
The rate proposed for the four projects is a non-levelized rate that increases through the 20-year life of the contract. The scheduled operation date for the projects is June 30, 2012. In 2012, the agreements' proposed rate for normal load hours during normal seasons of the year is $58.68/MWh, escalating to $117.77/MWh in 2031.