Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. IPC-E-09-25, Order No. 30964

December 18, 2009

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712




Commission approves Idaho Power agreement with wind project


The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has approved a sales agreement with Idaho Winds LLC for a wind project six miles northwest of Glenns Ferry in Elmore County.


Meridian-based Idaho Winds LLC will construct and operate the 21-megawatt Sawtooth Wind Project. Though its optimum capacity is 21 MW, under normal conditions it will not exceed 10 average megawatts on a monthly basis. The wind project is scheduled to be in operation by Dec. 31, 2012.


The project will operate as a Qualifying Facility under the provisions of PURPA, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978. PURPA requires electric utilities to offer to buy power produced by qualifying small-power producers or co-generators. The rate to be paid project developers, called an “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.


Under the 20-year contract, Idaho Power will pay the posted rate of $75.45 per megawatt-hour during months of normal demand in the first full-year of the contract, anticipated to be 2013. Under the agreement, the price gradually increases through the 20-year life of the contract. For example, the 2030 price during normal demand months is $118.97 per MWh. The rates vary during light-load and heavy-load months and hours.


In the same order, the commission accepted a letter agreement between Idaho Power and the Alkali Wind Project that was originally to be built on the same site. Due to a transmission study delay and escalating costs during that delay, the Alkali project was terminated.