Idaho Power Co. is seeking regulatory approval of sales agreements with two proposed wind projects in Elmore County near Mountain Home.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will take comments through Jan. 26 on whether it should approve Idaho Power’s request to buy power from the Bennett Creek Windfarm LLC and Hot Springs Windfarm LLC. The developer of both projects is Glenn Ikemoto of Energy Vision LLC, based in Piedmont, Calif.
Both projects include 12 wind turbines that will deliver an average 10 megawatts per month. The maximum output of the projects is 19.8 MW. Under the terms of the agreement, Idaho Power may accept energy delivered in excess of the average 10 MW per month but will not pay for it.
Both projects are Qualified Facilities under the provisions of the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) passed by Congress during the energy crisis of the late 1970s. PURPA requires electric utilities to offer to buy power produced by small power producers or cogenerators who obtain Qualifying Facility (QF) status. The rate to be paid project developers, called an “avoided cost rate,” is determined and published by state commissions. The avoided cost rate 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.
In August 2005 the commission reduced the size of the projects that can qualify for an avoided-cost rate from 10 average MW to 100 kilowatts. However, both the Bennett Creek and Hot Springs projects were underway before the commission made the change and are thus grandfathered from the lower size limit.
Both projects, if approved, are scheduled to be operating by Dec. 31.
Those wishing to submit comments must do so by no later than Jan. 26. 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-06-34 for Hot Springs and IPC-E-06-35 for Bennett Creek) 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 numbers.