Idaho Public Utilities Commission
March 16, 2011
Case No. PAC-E-11-08, Order No. 32202
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712
Utility seeks approval of agreement with Jefferson County biogas project
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will take comments through April 14 on an application by PacifiCorp, which does business in eastern Idaho as Rocky Mountain Power, for a 10-year sales agreement with Cargill, Inc.
Cargill intends to own and operate a biogas-fueled digester generating facility in Jefferson County. The 1.7 MW project would begin making power delivery to Rocky Mountain Power seven days after a commission order approving the agreement.
Under the agreement, Cargill would be paid a rate that is published by the commission under the provisions of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). The act was passed by Congress in 1978 to encourage development of renewable energy technologies as alternatives to burning fossil fuels or building new power plants. It requires that electric utilities offer to buy power produced from qualifying small-power producers at rates determined by the states. The rate to be paid small-power developers, called an avoided-cost rate, is to be equal to the cost the utility avoids if it would have had to generate the power itself or purchase it from another source.
Cargill seeks to be paid a non-levelized rate that increases through the 10-year life of the contract. In 2011, the published rate for normal load hours during normal seasons of the year is $60.24 per megawatt-hour, escalating to $90.63 per MWh in 2021.
The commission must ensure the avoided-cost rate is reasonable for utility customers because 100 percent of the price utilities pay to qualifying producers is included in customer rates.
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 (PAC-E-11-08) 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, is available on the commission’s Web site. Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to the above case number.