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Idaho a pioneer in wind projects?

Exergy already operates one wind farm in the state — Fossil Gulch Wind Farm located at Bell Rapids in the Hagerman area. And the company has 10 more projects on its drawing board. Like many wind power producers, Exergy and Carkulis will be keeping an eye on the upcoming release of a state utilities’ wind integration study to see just how friendly the state is to wind power.

BOISE — Will Idaho be a pioneer in generating electricity from renewable sources?

One developer of wind energy believes so.

“I think Idaho will take the lead in the renewables market,” said James Carkulis, president of Exergy Development Group.

Exergy already operates one wind farm in the state — Fossil Gulch Wind Farm located at Bell Rapids in the Hagerman area. And the company has 10 more projects on its drawing board. Like many wind power producers, Exergy and Carkulis will be keeping an eye on the upcoming release of a state utilities’ wind integration study to see just how friendly the state is to wind power.

Last summer, Idaho Power Co. asked the state utilities commission to put a halt to its obligation to buy power from small wind farms at a rate set just for small renewable sources. The utility did so after receiving a surge in sales agreement applications from small producers like Exergy. In the meantime, Idaho Power officials have studied the means and costs of integrating small amounts of electricity into the company’s system.

“Integration problems are very real,” Carkulis said.

Small renewable power projects qualify for certain rates under the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

BOISE — Will Idaho be a pioneer in generating electricity from renewable sources?

One developer of wind energy believes so.

“I think Idaho will take the lead in the renewables market,” said James Carkulis, president of Exergy Development Group.

Exergy already operates one wind farm in the state — Fossil Gulch Wind Farm located at Bell Rapids in the Hagerman area. And the company has 10 more projects on its drawing board. Like many wind power producers, Exergy and Carkulis will be keeping an eye on the upcoming release of a state utilities’ wind integration study to see just how friendly the state is to wind power.

Last summer, Idaho Power Co. asked the state utilities commission to put a halt to its obligation to buy power from small wind farms at a rate set just for small renewable sources. The utility did so after receiving a surge in sales agreement applications from small producers like Exergy. In the meantime, Idaho Power officials have studied the means and costs of integrating small amounts of electricity into the company’s system.

“Integration problems are very real,” Carkulis said.

Small renewable power projects qualify for certain rates under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act. Congress passed the act during the energy crisis in the 1970s to encourage energy companies to develop power sources that do not rely on natural gas and coal.

The wind integration study should be completed by mid- to late August, said Gene Fadness with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. The public will still get the opportunity to comment on the study before the utilities commissioners set the parameters for small wind power.

Idaho Power already has contracts with wind producers for a total of 206.8 megawatts of electricity, though only three projects that generate 19.9 megawatts are online now, said Dennis Lopez, spokesman for the company.

Earlier this month, Idaho Power announced that Horizon Wind Energy would be awarded a contract with the utility for 66 megawatts of wind power. A Texas-based company, Horizon intends to build its wind project in Union County, Ore.

Carkulis estimates that Exergy’s 10 wind projects should be completed by the end of 2007. With the rising price of wind turbines, All of Exergy’s wind farms qualify for the PURPA rate, and the company has signed contracts with Idaho Power. Exergy also plans to pursue other renewable energy projects besides wind power, Carkulis said.

Since Carkulis began working on wind power projects in the state, he has noticed a real change in public attitude toward renewable resources. Sempra Generation’s coal-fired power plant proposed for Jerome County likely played a large role in that change, Carkulis said. Strong public opposition to the plant led to increased knowledge of energy sources, opening the door for renewable projects like wind, solar and biomass.

“The more that we’ve got to know the Idaho public and governmental agencies, the more that we saw a realization that renewables are here to stay,” Carkulis said.

Times-News reporter Michelle Dunlop can be reached at 735-3237 or by e-mail at mdunlop@magicvalley.com.


Source: http://www.magicvalley.com/...

JUL 24 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3632-idaho-a-pioneer-in-wind-projects
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