August 22, 2007

IPC-E-07-03, AVU-E-07-02, PAC-E-07-07

Contact: Gene Fadness 208.334.0339, 208.890.2712



Commission taking public comment on wind issues


The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will take comments through Sept. 21 on a proposed resolution to issues that have slowed development of small-wind projects in the state for two years.


In 2005, Idaho Power Co., asked for a moratorium on wind development within its territory to allow the utility time to study how much it costs Idaho Power to provide back-up generation when wind output is less than projected. The commission denied the suspension, but agreed to lower the size of wind projects that can qualify for the rates utilities must pay generators of small renewable power projects from 10 megawatts to 100 kilowatts.


Since then, Idaho Power Co., as well as the two other major electric utilities that serve the state, Avista Corporation and PacifiCorp, have completed studies to determine wind integration costs and are now proposing that the published rate for wind be discounted and that the size limit of projects that can qualify for the rate be brought back up to 10 MW.


The three utilities differ on exactly how much the discount for wind integration should be, but the proposals are in the $5 to $10 per megawatt-hour range. The current posted rate for generation from renewable small-power projects, absent a discount rate, is about $64 per MWh.


The utilities also propose that wind developers reimburse them for the cost of state-of-the-art wind forecasting services and that developers provide guarantees that their wind projects are mechanically able to generate at full output during 85 percent of the hours during a month. If the wind developers agree to these provisions, the utilities would agree to support removal of the  "90/110 performance band" now required in wind contracts. That requirement stipulated that when output was less than 90 percent of projections or more than 110 percent of projections, that Idaho Power could pay developers a market-based rate rather than the posted rate.


Commission staff conducted two workshops to explore whether the utilities and wind developers could agree to a generic wind integration adjustment, but the parties were unable to settle.


With the parties unable to agree, the matter is now before the commission for a decision. The commission will proceed under a modified procedure that allows the case to be handled through written public comments rather than by public hearing. However, comments may request a public hearing.


Those wishing to submit comments must do so by no later than Sept. 21. Reply comments from the parties to the case are then due on Oct. 5. Comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (IPC-E-07-03 for Idaho Power; AVU-07-02 for Avista and PAC-E-07-07 for PacifiCorp) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.


A full text of the commission’s order, along with other documents related to this case, are available on the commission’s Web site. Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to the above case number.