Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Case No. PAC-E-09-06, Notice of Comment Deadline
June 26, 2009
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712
Planning document calls for more renewable generation
The addition of more than 1,423 megawatts of renewable energy and a reduction in demand of another 1,000 MW will help PacifiCorp meet customer needs over the next decade, according to a planning document filed by the utility with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.
The commission is taking comments through July 31 on PacifiCorp’s plan. The utility serves customers in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, California and in eastern Idaho, where, operating as Rocky Mountain Power, it has about 70,000 customers.
The Idaho commission requires that regulated electric utilities file an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) every two years. The PacifiCorp IRP sets forth how the utility intends to meet energy requirements in its six-state territory over the next 10 years. Acceptance of the plan by the commission does not guarantee that it will approve every project proposed during the 10-year period.
PacifiCorp maintains it will begin to experience a capacity deficit in 2011 if steps are not taken soon to increase generation and reduce demand. PacifiCorp anticipates a growth rate of about 2.5 percent per year over the next decade. Further creating the need for more generation is the 2011 expiration of a major power purchase contract with the Bonneville Power Administration.
The vast majority of the 1,423 MW in anticipated new renewable generation is expected to come from wind (1,313 MW) with the rest coming from geothermal (35 MW) and major upgrades to existing hydroelectric facilities (75 MW). On the conservation side, the utility plans to save just more than 900 MW from energy efficiency programs and another 105 to 325 MW from programs where the company remotely reduces demand from customers such as irrigators and industry during times of peak use.
PacifiCorp also plans to add about 831 MW in gas-fired capacity between 2014 and 2016 and gain 170 MW of emissions-free capacity from coal plant turbine upgrades.
The company could have been short on capacity as soon as 2010, but took steps to meet increased demand in 2008 by acquiring a 520-MW natural gas plant in Chehalis, Washington, and adding 175 MW of additional wind resources.
PacifiCorp anticipates gaining access to more generation with the completion of its proposed Gateway transmission project, a joint project with Idaho Power Co. that will transport energy from eastern Wyoming, through southern Idaho (Gateway West) and through Utah (Gateway South).
A major challenge for the utility will be to minimize rate increases in light of the substantial capital investment needed to address load growth, comply with anticipated government environmental and energy policies and maintain transmission grid reliability.
The company also faces some planning uncertainty due to a reduction in industrial and commercial demand in recent months. That, coupled with significant fuel price declines, could impact the company’s decisions on whether to commit to additional thermal generation.
The planning document was developed through a collaborative and public process with involvement from state utility commissions, advocacy groups and interested citizens. The document, including attachments, is available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on the electric icon, then on “Electric Cases,” and scroll down to Case No. PAC-E-09-06. Then click on “2009 IRP.pdf.”
Comments are accepted through July 31 via e-mail by accessing the commission’s Website and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (PAC-E-09-06) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.