PUC to hear arguments in Exergy complaint against Idaho Power
A wind developer with five wind projects in the Magic Valley is complaining that Idaho Power Co. is requiring deposits it is not allowed to assess small-wind generators. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will hear oral arguments in Exergy Development Group of Idaho’s complaint against Idaho Power Company on Jan. 18 in Boise.
Exergy and Idaho Power have entered into sales agreements that will permit Exergy to sell all the output from the five wind projects to Idaho Power.
Exergy claims Idaho Power is now improperly seeking another $255,000 in deposits from the five projects as a precondition to providing estimates on how much it will cost Exergy to interconnect with Idaho Power’s transmission grid. Idaho Power says it needs the money before it can proceed with interconnection cost studies. The utility said it has routinely collected deposits from the more than 200 requests for interconnection it has received since 2000. The deposits are needed, Idaho Power claims, to offset engineering and design expense and to protect customers in case a developer decides to abandon its generation project midstream.
Exergy has paid about $45,000 in deposits thus far for the five projects, which include Golden Valley, Milner Dam, Notch Butte, Lava Beds and Salmon Falls.
Exergy claims that Idaho Power’s insistence on the deposits is based on federal rules that govern wholesale wheeling of power across state lines and not on state interconnection rules intended for small, renewable projects that sell their entire output to an in-state utility. Idaho Power says it incorporates the federal interconnection rules along with state requirements to ensure fair and consistent treatment to all generators and that doing so does not violate state rules.
Idaho Power is asking the commission to deny the complaint and require Exergy to pay the deposits or remove the five projects from the Twin Falls area transmission que. To not do so, Idaho Power claims, discriminates against other power generators who may be seeking access to Idaho Power’s transmission grid.
Oral arguments begin at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 18 in the commission hearing room at 472 W. Washington St.
Documents related to this case can be accessed on the commission Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on the electric icon, then on “Open Electric Cases,” and scroll down to Case No. IPC-E-07-13.