Utah Power, Schwendiman Wind propose amended sales agreement
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will take comments through March 8 on an amended 20-year, $72.7 million sales agreement between PacifiCorp (Utah Power) and developers of the Schwendiman Wind LLC wind project 11 miles northeast of Idaho Falls.
An earlier proposed sales agreement between Schwendiman Wind and Utah Power was not approved because, in the commission’s view, it did not include performance provisions required in similar wind projects across the state to ensure that customers receive the generation product they are paying for. The commission is now taking comments as to whether the proposed amended agreement meets those provisions.
Under the amended agreement, Utah Power proposes to purchase the net output of 7.15 average megawatts from the project's eight 2.5 MW wind generators. The proposed agreement requires that output from the project fall within 10 percent of its forecasted monthly capacity. If output falls outside that 10 percent, Schwendiman will be paid only an energy rate with the capacity component reduced. The capacity component accounts for about one-third the total energy rate.
The proposed agreement also requires Schwendiman to reimburse Utah Power’s costs for replacement power for up to 120 days if it fails to meet is operation date of July 31, 2007 and for up to 12 months if Utah Power is forced to terminate the agreement in the event of a seller default.
Wind projects in Idaho are new to the mix of renewable projects that qualify for commission-set rates under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA. Because wind output is considered less predictable than other energy sources, wind developers and the commission have been grappling with the value that should be attached to wind generation. Intermittent, or non-firm, wind can be more costly to ratepayers when the projected output falls short and the utility must find replacement or back-up power. Because the published rate utilities must pay small-power producers is recovered from ratepayers, the commission’s role is to ensure customers receive full value for their rates.
Those wishing to submit comments regarding the amended agreement must do so by no later than March 8. 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 (PAC-E-05-09) 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 number.