A new study led by a U.S. Geological Survey biologist reaches a simple conclusion: Do not disturb the sage grouse.
Steve Knick's work shows that 99 percent of active leks, or breeding sites, are in areas with no more than 3 percent of the land disturbed by humans for uses such as roads, power lines, pipelines and communication towers.
FERC claims the PUC violated the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act when it held that Idaho Power was not obligated to buy from a number of wind generators because the utility did not sign the QF contracts prior to December 14, 2010, which was when the QF qualification threshold dropped to 100 kW from 10 MW.
Protests over high electricity bills - partially due to a surge in expensive green energy - toppled the government in the European Union's poorest country. ...The new rulings are likely to deepen the crisis in its troubled energy sector.Seeking to meet its 2020 target to have 16 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources, Sofia offered preferential tariffs for green energy and dozens of Austrian, Italian, American and South Korean investors rushed in.
Under the new rules, the cap for wind and solar projects seeking the PUC's published avoided-cost rates is 100 kW. The eligibility cap for all other QFs remains 10 MW. Wind and solar projects larger than 100 kW are eligible for a negotiated avoided-cost rate using each utility's long-range growth plan as the basis for the negotiation.
The three-member commission that regulates the state's three monopoly electric utilities denied Idaho Power's request to curtail existing wind power plants during low demand except in emergencies ...But it also limited the size of wind and solar plants eligible for a simple published power price to only 100 kilowatts, forcing larger developers to negotiate with utilities on rates and credits.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will seek to enforce an earlier order against the Idaho Public Utilities Commission over wind power projects near Murphy.
The federal commission oversees electric and natural gas delivery policy. Its ruling says the Idaho commission violated federal law when it denied an appeal by developers for three Murphy Flat wind power projects.
The decision to toss out two routes across the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey area that had been negotiated by the involved parties has brought ire from local, state and national Idaho politicians. At the same time, it has brought praise from a national environmental group seeking to preserve the protections of the landscape-conservation system that includes the Birds of Prey area.
Contractor Fagen Inc. asked a federal judge for an expedited ruling on who owns the nearly completed Big Blue Wind Farm in southwestern Minnesota.
Fagen, a construction company, alleged that the project's financially struggling original developer, Exergy Development Group of Idaho, has tried to extract a "dubious and unearned" $2.6 million fee from the contractor.
Fagen alleged that the original developer of the project, Exergy Development Group of Idaho, didn't repay $11 million it borrowed from Fagen, causing the wind farm's ownership to transfer to Fagen under a February agreement. ...Exergy recently suspended development of a series of Idaho wind projects, blaming regulatory delays and other factors.
Fagen Inc. says it's entitled to ownership of the 18-turbine "Big Blue Project," near Blue Earth, Minn., on grounds that Exergy Development Group hasn't repaid an $11.4 million loan.
Granite Falls, Minn.-based Fagen says Exergy disputes ownership of the project.
Idaho Power and other utilities have been scuffling with wind farms over whether utilities can curtail contractually-required purchases at times when few customers need electricity.
Idaho Power has been forced by federal law to add more than 400 megawatts of wind power to its system in the past five years. The investor-owned utility has asked the PUC to reduce the price it must pay, shorten the contract period and even curtail the requirement that the company buy power from existing wind plants when it means turning off cheaper coal plants.
A federal energy decision raises more questions about whether the utility has the power to shut off existing wind plants even if it saves customers money. Idaho Power officials say they are preparing to appeal a federal ruling that challenges company efforts to shut down wind farms during periods of low demand.
Paying too much for renewables was the Idaho Power's primary argument for curtailment, saying that the non-negotiated rates it is required to employ are as much as $65 per MWh, compared to $5 per MWh for hydroelectric. "One of our problems [with renewable energy] in Idaho is low [energy] prices and lack of need.
Idaho's wind industry has won a major victory over Idaho Power in a ruling from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Associated Press reports. FERC ruled that federal law doesn't allow a utility company to unilaterally curtail electricity purchases during times of light load when it has long-term power purchase agreements in place, like those Idaho Power has with wind-energy producers.
Idaho Power, the state's largest utility, wants Idaho regulators' permission to limit electricity output from wind farms like Terna's at times of low demand, arguing it will protect customers from higher costs.
With the matter unresolved, lenders are wary their money is at risk.
Exergy Development Group LLC of Boise failed to pay up to $37.9 million for 32 turbines that were to be transported to Idaho from Pennsylvania, according to the lawsuit filed by a unit of AES Corp. in U.S. District Court in Idaho.
Arlington, VA.-based AES said Exergy signed the contract on May 25 and made an initial, non-refundable deposit of $1.7 million.
“The end consequence, that of increased power rates, is detrimental to Idahoans as a people and our whole economy,” says Christensen. “Our state legislators have only been hearing from one side, those with their hand in the money pot. It’s time for Idaho to look at our own facts and not rely on what is being fed to them by those standing to profit.”
A prominent Idaho wind energy developer has asked to pull out of contracts for projects in Twin Falls and Lincoln counties.
The circumstances of the move by Boise-based Exergy Development Group highlight the ongoing debate over wind and other renewable energy sources in Idaho, and how state regulators should treat them.
Carkulis said he decided to halt the projects after it became clear Exergy would not get them done by the end of the year, which the company had to do to obtain an up-front payment of a federal investment-tax credit that is due to expire Dec. 31.