The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is allowing PacifiCorp, which does business as Rocky Mountain Power in eastern Idaho, to charge a higher wind-integration rate to developers of small wind projects. However, the rate is not as large as requested.
Currently, PacifiCorp charges developers an integration rate of $5.10/MWh. Citing increased costs to integrate wind into its overall generation portfolio, PacifiCorp requested a rate of $9.96/MWh. The PUC granted a rate of $6.50/MWh, which is the same as the maximum amount allowed to other utilities that buy from small wind projects in Idaho, including Avista Utilities and Idaho Power Co.
PacifiCorp claims that an updated study shows that it costs the utility in the range of $9.96/MWh to $11.85/MWh to integrate wind into its system. However, the Portland, Ore.-based Renewable Northwest Project, which promotes the development of renewable energy, recommended the increase be denied because of flaws in the PacifiCorp study.
The PUC notes that there is no consensus on the methodology used to calculate wind-integration costs. This case is not the appropriate forum to select a methodology, the commission says.
In setting the rate at $6.50/MWh, the PUC acknowledged that PacifiCorp has added wind resources since the original $5.10/MWh rate was set and that ‘integration costs have likely increased.’
Interested parties may petition the PUC for reconsideration by no later than April 2. Petitions for reconsideration must set forth specifically why the petitioner contends that the order is unreasonable, unlawful or erroneous. Petitions should include a statement of the nature and quantity of evidence the petitioner will offer if reconsideration is granted.