July 5, 2006
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339
Commission approves four small-power projects
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is approving four small-power project agreements with Idaho Power Co., including the utility’s first agreement with a developer of electricity from an anaerobic digester at a dairy near Caldwell.
Also approved are two more Cassia County wind projects and a small-hydro project. All the agreements are 20-year agreements.
CKTV1 Energy, L.L.C. will sell up to 3.2 megawatts from its anaerobic digestion facility south of Lake Lowell in Canyon County. The facility converts animal manure into electrical energy. One megawatt is one million watts, enough energy to power 650 average homes.
CKTV1, whose president is Sot Chimanos of Eagle, anticipates an operation date of March 31, 2007.
Cassia Wind Farm, LLC
IPC-E-06-10, Order No. 30086
Cassia Gulch Wind Park, LLC
IPC-E-06-11, Order No. 30087
The wind agreements approved are with two projects in the Bell Rapids area near Hagerman.
The first is with Cassia Wind Farm LLC, a 10.5-megawatt facility that will include five, 2.1-megawatt turbines. The second is with Cassia Gulch Wind Park LLC, which is an 18.9-MW facility consisting of nine, 2.1-MW turbines.
Both projects are anticipated to begin operation by Dec. 31. The project manager for both is Jared Grover of Hagerman.
Developers of small-power projects are entitled to a rate – now about $61 per megawatt-hour – that is determined and then published by the commission as required by the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, or PURPA. The federal act requires electric utilities to offer to buy power from qualifying small producers of renewable energy projects. The published rate to be paid developers is called an “avoided-cost rate” – equal to the cost the utility avoids if it would have had to generate the power itself or purchase it from another source.
The Cassia projects bring to 18 the total of PURPA wind projects approved by the commission in just the last 18 months. Combined, the projects will have the capacity to generate up to 246.8 megawatts once installed. In the last 18 months, the state of Idaho has witnessed a 66 percent increase in PURPA project capacity due almost entirely to the development of wind projects. Wind projects now represent 45 percent of the state’s total 552.2 MW of PURPA capacity.
In addition to PURPA projects, Idaho utilities have also entered into negotiated wind agreements with independent developers of projects too large to qualify for the PURPA rate. These projects are selected primarily through a bid process. For example, 62.5 MW of wind have been added from the Wolverine Project, which sells to PacifiCorp in eastern Idaho. Idaho Power plans to solicit bids of an additional 200 MW of wind by the end of 2007. PacifiCorp is seeking an additional 300 MW in its six-state territory and Avista Utilities, which serves northern Idaho, is seeking another 100 MW by the end of 2007.
Riverside Hydro LLC
IPC-E-06-13, Order No. 30088
The commission also approved an application by Idaho Power Co. to enter into a sales agreement with Riverside Hydro LLC for up to 1.9 megawatts. The facility also qualifies for the published rate under provisions of PURPA.
Riverside’s Mora Drop Small Hydroelectric Facility is southwest of Kuna. The project was scheduled to begin operating July 1.