Library filed under General from Idaho

PUC accepting comments on issues affecting wind projects

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will take comments through Sept. 21 on a proposed resolution to issues that have slowed development of small-wind projects in the state for two years. In 2005, Idaho Power Co., asked for a moratorium on wind development within its territory to allow the utility time to study how much it costs Idaho Power to provide back-up generation when wind output is less than projected. The commission denied the suspension, but agreed to lower the size of wind projects that can qualify for the rates utilities must pay generators of small renewable power projects from 10 megawatts to 100 kilowatts.
24 Aug 2007

Examining exemptions: State sales and income tax breaks studied

The plethora of goods and services exempt from Idaho sales and income taxes has lawmakers wondering if the time has come to curb the exemptions. More than 100 exemptions for sales and income taxes keep millions of potential tax revenue out of state coffers, state officials say............One of the newest sales tax exemptions is a break for companies that buy equipment to build wind farms or other alternative energy projects. Tax officials say this makes Idaho more competitive with states like Montana and Oregon that don't have sales taxes.
4 Aug 2007

After moratorium, turbines hold promise for Idaho

The utilities were concerned that a federal law requiring them to buy renewable energy like wind power from small producers at the same cost they'd pay for other power on the open market didn't fully recognize the cost to cope with an energy source that rises and dies with the wind. "Wind is unique because of its intermittency," said Bob Lafferty, manager of wholesale marketing and contracts for Avista. "It probably blows about one-third of the time."...... The proposed settlement, now being finalized for submission to the utilities commission, allows the utilities a discount for wind power, calculated to reflect "integration" cost. That includes the cost to come up with other power sources when the wind simply doesn't blow.
18 Jul 2007

County agrees to wind turbine moratorium — sort of

In a complicated three-to-three vote last Thursday, the entire Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission agreed that, yes, the county should initiate a 180-day moratorium on applications to install wind turbines. It was split, however, over how extensive the moratorium should be. Under the proposed interim moratorium, the county would prohibit the filing of any applications for wind turbine construction. Idaho statute allows counties to adopt interim moratoriums if they state "in writing that an imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare requires the adoption of an interim moratorium." On Tuesday Blaine County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim Graves said the P&Z did not specify what imminent peril exists. He said the commission left that determination to the Blaine County Commission, which will have the ultimate say about whether a moratorium on wind turbines should be put in place.
18 Jul 2007

Winds of change blowing in Idaho

The proposed settlement, now being finalized for submission to the utilities commission, allows the utilities a discount for wind power, calculated to reflect that "integration" cost. That includes the cost to come up with other power sources when the wind simply doesn't blow.
9 Jul 2007

Utilities’ proposal could lift size restrictions on wind farms, open door for industry boom

A final obstacle to a booming Idaho wind-energy industry may be close to cleared, the state's three major utility companies indicate. Idaho Power Co., Avista Corp. and PacifiCorp say they're proposing a deal with wind developers that may lift a temporary restriction on the amount of energy Idaho wind farms can produce. The deal could spawn a legitimate wind-energy industry in southern Idaho if the temporary restriction is lifted, said Gene Fadness, a spokesman for Idaho's Public Utilities Commission, the state's energy regulating agency. The restriction has blocked several wind producers from starting business......Under a federal law, utilities must accept alternative energy at a rate of about $64 per megawatt-hour. The utilities propose lifting the size restriction but cutting the rate by between $5 and $7.50 per megawatt-hour to pay for backup generation when the wind doesn't blow.
6 Jul 2007

Wind Power Pending

It looks like wind power is on the rise in eastern Idaho. Idaho Power announced last week that it is close to settling a complaint filed last year by wind-power developer Jared Grover, who had been fighting a $60 million bill for upgrades to transmission lines. Under an agreement now before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the cost of the upgrades will be reduced to $11 million and split between Grover, Idaho Power and other energy developers who connect to the power grid.
5 Jul 2007

Utilities propose settlement with wind developers

Idaho's three large regulated electric utilities have proposed a settlement with wind developers that they say could resolve cost issues that have slowed development of small wind projects in Idaho. Idaho Power had asked the Public Utilities Commission to place a moratorium on rapidly increasing wind development projects within its territory while the company studied how much it would cost the utility to accept wind-generated power and to provide for backup generation when wind output is less than projected. The commission denied the request, and it reduced the size of wind projects that could qualify for the commission-posted rates that utilities must pay generators of small renewable power projects. It lowered the size of wind projects that qualify for the posted rates from 10 megawatts to 100 kilowatts. Having completed their studies, Idaho Power, Avista Corp. and PacifiCorp are recommending that the published rate for wind-generated power be discounted to allow for wind intermittency and that the size limit of projects that can qualify for the rate be brought back to 10 megawatts.
4 Jul 2007

Fossil Gulch Wind Park

115212_thumb Idaho Power and a local wind producer have finally reached a deal regarding electricity purchases. This deal will probably set precedence for future wind farms like this one at Fossil Gulch Wind Park.
28 Jun 2007

Utility, wind farmer reach deal

HAGERMAN - After nine months of back and forth, Idaho Power Co. and a Magic Valley wind farmer have reached an agreement both say could launch a fledgling wind industry in southern Idaho. The deal involves a case dating back to September. Hagerman wind farmer Jared Grover wanted to sell Idaho Power energy produced on his wind farm, but the power company wanted Grover to spend $60 million on transmission system upgrades it said was necessary to incorporate the wind energy. The agreement reached this month cuts Grover's bill to less than $200,000, and Grover said it opens the door for more wind development because many potential wind farmers were waiting to see what happened in his case before starting their own wind farms. The power company agrees. "We hope this will serve as a template for future contracts," said Dennis Lopez, a spokesman for Idaho Power.
28 Jun 2007

NorthWestern announces Montana-Idaho transmission line

NorthWestern announced plans Tuesday for a transmission line running from Montana to Idaho which it said could carry energy from developing wind power plants to power-hungry markets. The company, which has previously hinted at such a project, said the power line would be operated outside of its regulated utility business and would have no effect on consumer electric rates. A Montana Public Service Commission member, however, said the project could have an indirect effect on prices.
6 Jun 2007

Otter signs wind power bills

Two bills making it easier for landowners to set up wind power generation systems on farms, ranches or state lands were signed recently by Idaho Gov. Butch Otter. One became effective immediately. It is House Bill 189, which moves the taxes assessed on wind farm operations from the ad valorem property tax roles to the production tax list. Operators will be taxed on their output, rather than on the physical generation equipment. This means more monies will go to the counties, and the amount should even increase a little from year to year, said Dar Olberding, lobbyist for the Idaho Grain Producers Association. That's why the counties supported this bill, he said.
31 Mar 2007

Cost of removing dams depends on assumptions

The Bonneville Power Administration, which markets the power from the four dams and 26 others, assumes it must replace the full capacity of the dams, more than three times the electricity the dams annually produce. Its managers say they need the full capacity to ensure there is enough power for the rare but critical event that requires all the power the system currently has. BPA predicts the annual cost to range from $400 million to $500 million. It assumes it would have to replace the dams with 3,400 megawatts by building natural gas turbine generators. It could use wind to produce some of that power, but the capital costs would be the same since it needs the gas turbines to back wind turbines up when the wind doesn't blow, said Kieran Connolly, BPA regional power manager.
21 Mar 2007

Idaho Power defends recent wind study

Idaho Power Company explained Thursday its February study on the effects of integrating wind power into its system to about 50 energy company representatives, attorneys and wind developers, many of whom questioned the integrity of the power company's report. Idaho Power's study focused on the effects wind would have on its hydroelectricity facilities, and some at the meeting criticized the company's lack of attention to other power sources - namely gas-powered turbines - as an alternative to offsetting wind costs. The study found that the wind integration would affect hydropower, because the company might need to fall back on its system of dams when wind doesn't blow. Idaho Power says it will have to pass costs for the hydropower backup onto customers.
16 Mar 2007

Wind farm tax bill passed

BOISE - The state Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee passed a bill Tuesday that would relieve commercial wind farms of paying property taxes and instead require a form of excise tax - a "production tax" - through 3 percent of their annual gross revenue. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, on behalf of Ridgeline Energy, a wind power company seeking to expand in Idaho, recently passed the House. Supporters said the owners of the turbines rarely have enough money to pay property taxes immediately. The law would give them additional time by taxing their energy output, as well as offer investors a chance to make steadier payments and provide counties up to 10 percent more money for 20 years.
7 Mar 2007

Power company examines new industry

In three years, an entirely new industry to the state has found a home in Magic Valley: wind. It doesn’t employ many people. It doesn’t have a flashy corporate image. It doesn’t get talked about much. But that’s all changing. A handful of low-key southern Idaho wind producers may be the state’s next energy pioneers - especially as Idaho works toward developing low-emission energy sources. Idaho Power Co. finalized deals with two new wind producers last week, bringing the total amount of wind energy in its system to 400 megawatts. Three years ago, that number was zero.
1 Mar 2007

Idaho commission approves two wind power agreements

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has approved two wind power purchase agreements for the Idaho Power Co., a Boise, Idaho-based electric utility. The first is a 20-year sales agreement with Houston-based Telocaset Wind Power Producers LLC for 100 MW of wind energy. According to the commission, Telocaset’s wind farm is scheduled to be complete by March 2008. The second agreement the commission approved is between Idaho Power Co. and Idaho Winds LLC, which plans to build The Alkali Wind Farm six miles northwest of Glenns Ferry. The project includes 12 turbines that will be operating by Dec. 31. Even though the maximum output of the project is 18 MW, it will not generate more than 10 MW on average on a monthly basis, the commission says. Energy delivered in excess of that amount may be accepted, but Idaho Power will not be obligated to pay for it under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act.
28 Feb 2007
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