IDAHO PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION
Case No. IPC-E-05-24
August 23, 2005
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339 office; (208) 841-1107 cell
Idaho Power seeks approval of Arrow Rock sales agreement
Boise – The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will take comments through Sept. 9 on a proposal by Idaho Power Co. to buy up to 10 average megawatts from a Montana wind plant for nine months of the year.
Under the 20-year sales agreement, Idaho Power would purchase electric energy generated by the Arrow Rock Wind Generating Project about 100 miles northwest of Billings, Mont. Arrow Rock has made arrangements with NorthWestern Energy to deliver the net energy from its Montana facility to the Idaho Power electrical system.
The facility has a capacity to produce up to 19.5 megawatts, but under normal conditions the project will not exceed 10 average MWs. Idaho Power maintains the Arrow Rock project qualifies as a small-power production facility under the provisions of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act. Congress passed PURPA during the energy crisis of the late 1970s. Its purpose is to encourage development of renewable energy technologies as alternatives to burning fossil fuels or constructing new power plants. The federal act requires that electric utilities offer to buy power produced by small power producers or cogenerators who obtain Qualifying Facility (QF) status. The rate to be paid to project developers is to be equal to the cost the electric utility avoids if it would have had to generate the power itself or purchase it from another source.
The commission currently has a temporary limit of no more than 100 kilowatts on intermittent wind projects to qualify for published PURPA rates. However, this project, Idaho Power maintains, will receive firm energy rather than the intermittent energy generally associated with wind-generating projects. Further, Idaho Power maintains, Arrow Rock was in the final stages of negotiations with Idaho Power when Idaho Power sought a temporary suspension of allowing PURPA rates for non-firm wind projects and, therefore, should be exempt from the temporary 100-kW limit.
The commission will proceed under a modified procedure that allows the case to be handled through written public comments rather than by public hearing. Those wishing to submit comments must do so by no later than Sept. 9. Comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (IPC-E-05-24) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.
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 Case No. IPC-E-05-24.