Idaho Power seeks approval for four wind projects
Idaho Power Co. is asking state regulators to approve 20-year purchase contracts with the developer of four wind parks scheduled to be built in south-central and eastern Idaho.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking public comment on the proposed contracts through Nov. 28. The developer of all four projects is James Carkulis of the Montana-based Exergy Development Group. All four projects, if approved, would start producing energy in November 2006, and be in full operation by May 2007.
The four projects, all of which will be paid for delivery of 10 average-megawatts a month to Idaho Power, include:
Milner Dam Wind Park (IPC-E-05-30) – Located about a mile west of Milner Dam (west of Burley) in Cassia County, this project includes 12, 1.5-megawatt turbines.
Lava Beds Wind Park (IPC-E-05-31) – Located between Blackfoot and Arco, this project is also 12, 1.5-MW turbines.
Notch Butte Wind Park (IPC-E-05-32) – Located between Twin Falls and Shoshone, this project is also 12, 1.5-MW turbines.
Salmon Falls Wind Park (IPC-E-05-33) – Located near Hagerman and south of Bell Rapids, this project includes 14, 1.5-MW turbines.
Idaho Power claims the projects were sufficiently far enough along in development that they should be grandfathered from a commission order in August that temporarily reduced – from 10 average megawatts to 100 kilowatts – the size of projects that could qualify for a rate published by the commission for renewable projects under provisions of federal PURPA provisions.
Congress passed PURPA, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, 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 co-generators who obtain Qualifying Facility (QF) status. The published rate to be paid project developers is set by state commissions and 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 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 Nov. 28. 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-05-30, -31, -32, -33) 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.