Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. IPC-E-10-02, Order No. 31014

March 2, 2010

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 473-8791



Idaho Power seeks approval of contract with Cargill



Idaho Power Company is seeking approval of a contract to buy up to 2.25 megawatts of output from, Cargill, Inc., the developer of an anaerobic digester near Hansen.


The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments through March 18 on Idaho Power’s request to buy the energy generated from Cargill’s Bettencourt Dry Creek Biofactory.


The anaerobic digester has been producing electricity on a non-firm basis since August of 2008. This 10-year agreement is for firm delivery.


The project is a Qualified Facility (QF) 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 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.


The contract is a non-levelized contract meaning it increases in value during its 10-year life. The average beginning rate paid by Idaho Power to Cargill is $78.89 per megawatt hour this year and increasing to $100.08 per MWh in 2020. The rates are adjusted seasonally and hourly to account for the varying prices of power during times of less-than-normal demand and greater-than-normal demand.


 The commission plans to handle this request in a modified procedure that uses written comments rather than conducting a hearing, unless customer comments can demonstrate a need for a public hearing. Comments are accepted through March 18 via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (IPC-E-10-02) 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 the company’s application and proposed contract are available on the commission’s Web site at Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to the above case number.