Library filed under General from Idaho
CLINTON — Central Illinois has long been known for corn and soybean production. But the landscape has changed, both literally and figuratively, and wind energy production is catching up.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The signs suggest Exergy pushed too hard, spent too much and extended itself too far. Unfortunately, and perhaps unfairly, this one company's problems can reflect poorly on an emerging wind sector. Exergy's implosion is particularly ill-timed because, while the PUC deliberates, the wind industry also is locked in a public relations showdown.
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.
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.
The ads are part of a coordinated campaign by the investor-owned utility to persuade state regulators, political leaders and the public to stop or dramatically reduce the amount of wind and other renewable power it has to buy. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will hold hearings next month on the terms of contracts between renewable energy developers and utilities.
When wind power hits 1,000 megawatts and above, the cost of integrating that power explodes, and the utility isn't certain it can operate its system without forcing some wind plants to shut down. Incorporating more wind power would dramatically increase Idaho Power's costs because it would limit the company's ability to use its low-cost hydropower.
A Nevada utility company's recent decision to pull out of a major wind project along the Idaho and Nevada border has local officials worried about the project's future. "This might be the nail in the coffin for this project," said Twin Falls County Commissioner Leon Mills.
Based on that data, he said, the company has recently concluded the wind there "isn't of commercial grade." "It blows, but not often or hard enough to justify the investment," said Walsh, a business developer based in Iberdrola's Portland, Ore., office.
"This is a blatant attempt to manipulate and avoid the Idaho commission's rates, rules and regulations that are designed to implement PURPA and protect Idaho Power's customers," the company states in its petition to the PUC. The developers argue that the PUC is prohibited by federal law from regulating qualifying PURPA projects.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday announced it won't reinstate for now a larger cap on the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act rates that created a favorable climate for the development of wind energy in Idaho.
On Wednesday, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission announced it will hear oral arguments between the developer of four proposed Cassia County wind projects and Rocky Mountain Power on June 9. Exergy Development Group, of Boise, is asking for oral arguments in response to Rocky Mountain Power's request to dismiss Exergy's complaint against the utility.
The PUC will hear from developers, utilities, their customers on how the projects can be regulated to prevent them from overwhelming the utilities with unwanted electricity. Wind is especially troublesome, utilities say, because it's too intermittent and unreliable to make up a major piece of the power picture.