Idaho and Utah
UAMPS is looking to install a 108-megawatt wind farm in Bonneville County, Idaho, and needs cities to commit in advance in order to buy up to 56 wind turbines for the project. Amid the complicated numbers and projections that filled last week's meeting, one aspect became the decision's true hinge: Will the need for renewable energy in the future justify its higher cost now?
After nearly two years of planning, Utah's largest electric utility announced Tuesday that crews had begun constructing a $600 million, 135-mile high-voltage transmission line from a new substation near Downey, Idaho, to an existing substation near the Salt Lake City International Airport.
Rocky Mountain Power spokesman David Eskelsen told the Deseret News that work on the Populus to Terminal transmission line is under way, with the first segment in PacifiCorp's Energy Gateway transmission expansion scheduled for completion in 2010.
At the halfway point between the West Coast energy crisis of 2001 and the next major electricity contract renewal year of 2011, a federal power marketing agency is proposing a policy change that could affect rates in the Pacific Northwest for generations and become a national model for energy development.
Northwest hydropower is one of the cheapest energy resources in the nation - about half the current market rate for electricity. The Bonneville Power Administration - which sells power in all of Washington, Oregon and Idaho and parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana - announced this summer it wants to change the way it charges utilities for its wholesale power, to keep rates low.