Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Case No. IPC-E-11-11, Order No. 32356
October 11, 2011
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712
Commission taking comments on Idaho Power load-growth plan
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments through Nov. 14 on an Idaho Power Company plan to meet customer needs over the next 20 years.
The commission requires Idaho’s electric and gas utilities to file an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) every two years detailing how the utilities plan to meet customer demand in 10- and 20-year windows. The commission accepts or rejects the IRP for planning purposes only. The plan may change as circumstances warrant and proposed projects in the plan are considered later on a case-by-case basis when and if they are formally proposed.
Idaho Power expects its customers to increase from 492,000 in 2010 to more than 650,000 by the end of 2030. Average load is expected to increase by 29 average megawatts (1.4 percent annually) by 3030. Summer peak hour loads are expected to increase by 69 megawatts (1.8 percent annually).
Idaho Power’s plan continues its emphasis on reducing load through energy efficiency measures and programs that reduce demand by shifting large industrial or irrigation loads off peak-use times. The utility plans to reduce load by 233 average megawatts annually by 2030 through energy efficiency programs and reduce demand by 351 megawatts by summer 2016.
The utility also expects to have 450 MW available in market purchases of power once the Boardman to Hemingway transmission project is completed, anticipated in 2016.
Long range, the company is looking to completion of a 170-MW single-cycle natural gas plant in 2022 and possibly a 300-MW combined-cycle natural gas plant in 2025. The company also hopes to obtain 52 MW in geothermal generation, 50 MW from a solar power tower and 60 MW from small hydroelectric projects in 2021 through 2030.
Two projects in the 2009 IRP are under way. The 300-MW Langley Gulch natural gas plant being built near New Plymouth is scheduled to be online next year. An upgrade to the Shoshone Falls hydroelectric project, which will provide another 49 MWs, is to be completed in 2016.
Increased generation from hydro sources and reduced coal-fired generation have allowed the utility to make progress on its goal to reduce carbon emissions and “emissions intensity” (measured in pounds per megawatt-hour) by 15 percent through 2013. Idaho Power has more than 1,100 MW of coal resources jointly owned with other utilities in three states: Wyoming (Jim Bridger plant), Nevada (Valmy) and Oregon (Boardman). In 2007, Idaho Power decided not to pursue development of a coal resource in its 2006 IRP and does not include any new coal generation in the 2011 IRP. The Boardman plant is scheduled for decommissioning in 2020.
In 2010, 48.8 percent of Idaho Power’s generation came from hydroelectric sources, while 43.9 percent came from coal. By 2030, the utility anticipates that 53 percent of its generation will come from hydroelectric sources and 26 percent from coal.
The public is included in the process of writing the company’s IRP. Members of environmental organizations, major industrial customers, agricultural interests, state legislators, PUC staff and representatives from the state Office of Energy Resources and Northwest Power and Conservation Council participate as members of the Integrated Resource Plan Advisory Council.
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 via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions About a Case." Fill in the case number (IPC-E-11-11) 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, is available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to the above case number.