Commission OKs Idaho Power-Simplot agreement
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission this week approved a sales agreement between Idaho Power Company and J.R. Simplot Co., which operates a cogeneration facility at its industrial site near Pocatello.
The seven-year contract requires Simplot to deliver no more than 10 average megawatts per month from its 18.75 MW cogeneration facility.
The project qualifies for published rates set by the commission under the provisions of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act passed by Congress during the energy crisis of the late 1970s. The federal act requires electric utilities to offer to buy power produced by qualifying small-power producers or co-generators. The rate to be paid project developers is set by the commission 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 published rate for a contract beginning this year is 5.15 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The Idaho commission has limited the size of firm projects that can qualify for PURPA rates to 10 megawatts. The Simplot co-generation project has a capacity of 18.75 MW, but under normal conditions will not exceed 10 average megawatts on a monthly basis. The agreement states Idaho Power will accept inadvertent energy that exceeds that amount but will not purchase it. The project is already interconnected with Idaho Power’s transmission grid.
The company is asking that its prudently incurred expenses related to the proposed sales agreement be recovered from ratepayers.
A full text of the commission’s order, along with other documents related to this case, are available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to Case Number IPC-E-06-03.