Library from Idaho
SALT LAKE CITY — Rocky Mountain Power unveiled a 20-year plan today to provide electricity to its customers that includes adding more solar and wind and making existing wind turbines more efficient. The $3.5 billion plan also incorporates building a segment of the Gateway West transmission line to facilitate the wind expansion.
BONNEVILLE Co., Idaho - After weeks of sitting idle, the wind turbines east of Idaho Falls will soon be back up and running.
Paul Kjellander, president of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, said his state’s biggest concern is developers disaggregating large wind projects into smaller units in order to obtain the most favorable avoided cost rates for qualifying facilities. Kjellander referred to the practice as “gaming” the system.
The scope of the project is excessive, said Wendi Combs, a homeowner on Anderson Ranch Reservoir who opposes the project. Combs said that’s especially true of the wind farm, which is proposed to run from near Lime Creek, which flows into the eastern side of the reservoir, all the way to past Little Camus Reservoir and Anderson Dam, occupying a total of 23,000 acres.
Wind power generation had its smallest increase in 16 years due to less intense wind speeds in Utah and eight other Western states in the country. Even though wind generation capacity jumped by 13 percent in 2015, the actual output grew 5.1 percent.
At the May 12 commissioners meeting Solomon said that the utility's contingency plans counted on backup power from wind generation to help keep the power on during scheduled maintenance to the Goshen Substation, south of Shelley. Unfortunately, as is normal in subzero temperatures in Idaho, there was no wind Dec. 3.
In this important ruling by the Idaho Supreme Court, the Court upheld the decision of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to deny approval of power purchase contracts between an electric utility and two wind farms on the grounds that the contract rate for purchasing the power was contrary to public policy because it exceeded the utility’s avoided costs. The ruling examines the rights granted to States in defining 'avoided costs' as found under PURPA. A portion of the ruling is provided below. The full ruling can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
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.