Idaho Energy Update
October 16, 2009
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has approved contracts between Idaho Power and a Boise wind developer that plans to build three wind farms near Hagerman with an eye toward production by this time next year. In other wind news, Ridgeline Energy says it will file a new application in Bingham County for its utility-scale wind project south of the Wolverine Creek wind farm near Idaho Falls. And Idaho Power continues its Fall 2009 Energy Efficiency and Green Living Series with four sessions in Boise starting Monday. And next week’s energy calendar is jammed with everything from an Idaho Environmental Forum session on salmon and hydropower to the Legislature’s Interim Energy Committee, the 23rd annual Idaho Energy & Green Building Conference and the Frank Church Conference on climate issues. For more on these developments and others, please read on.
Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!
Clean Energy Program Director
Snake River Alliance
I: Wind 1: PUC OK’s Idaho Power Purchase from Hagerman Wind Farms
As expected, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission has approved a trio of contracts between Idaho Power and Exergy Development Group, which will plug three wind farms into the utility’s system next year.
The three projects and their “nameplate” (or maximum generation) are: Camp Reed at 22.5 megawatts, Payne’s Ferry at 21MW, and Yahoo Creek at 21MW. The projects, which will deliver about 10 average megawatts each over the course of a month to Idaho Power, are scheduled to be energized and connected to Idaho Power by September 30, 2010.
According to the PUC, these three wind projects are the first to be approved by the commission under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) since a de facto moratorium on small wind projects took effect in 2005. At that time, Idaho Power sought a freeze on PURPA wind projects until a study was done on their impacts on the stability of the company’s system. These contracts are also the first under a new pricing mechanism for PURPA projects. Idaho Power will pay $84.40 per megawatt hour during months of normal demand (January, February, June, September, and October); and will pay $102.58 per megawatt hour during heavy demand months (July, August, November and December); and will pay $61.47 during months of light demand (March through May).
For more information on these PUC cases, visit www.pub.idaho.gov and then “File Room” and then “Electric Cases” and then IPC-E-09-18, -19, and -20.
II: Wind 2: Report Says Ridgeline Not Giving Up on East Idaho Wind Project
Ridgeline Energy, which built Idaho’s first large wind farm at Wolverine Creek in the hills above Idaho Falls, will continue its dogged attempt to build a like-sized project south of there in Bingham County, according to the Idaho Falls Post-Register.
The newspaper quoted Ridgeline project manager Randy Gardner as saying the company will file a new application with Bingham County, which approved a special use permit for the 150-turbine project a year ago only to have an appeal by opponents upheld by a district court judge. Some critics say the project would create an eyesore in the hilly terrain between Blackfoot and Idaho Falls.
The newspaper also quoted Gardner as saying Ridgeline will address some of the concerns raised by local opponents, including changing the size of the project. Meantime, Bingham County is undergoing a review of its ordinances as they relate to wind farms in hopes of reducing the likelihood of similar disputes in the future.
III: Idaho Power Holds Energy Efficiency & Green Living Series in Boise
Idaho Power’s Fall 2009 energy efficiency series kicks off Monday with a session explaining the technologies behind the so-called “smart grid.” The company’s sessions will be held at the Boise Public Library, which is a cosponsor, and run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the downtown library. Here’s the lineup:
Oct. 19: Smart Grid 101, which aims to demystify the new grid technologies.
Oct. 26: Cooking Up Savings at Home, which focuses on ways to save energy in the kitchen with energy efficient meals, utensils, and cooking methods.
Nov. 2: Confessions of a Green Geek, which will feature a collection of self-styled energy geeks who will discuss their green lifestyles.
Nov. 9: I Hate My Bonus Room, which will explore ways to maintain comfort in a room with five exposed surfaces.
For details and to register for the sessions, and for presentations and information from previous sessions elsewhere in Idaho and from last year, visit www.idahopower.com/eeclasses
Or call 388-6075.
On The Agenda:
► The Public Utilities Commission holds its next decision meetings on Oct. 19, and 26. Agendas are normally posted the day before on the Commission’s website at www.puc.state.id.us. The meetings typically start at 1:30 p.m.
► Boise State University’s 26th Frank Church Conference on Public Affairs takes a look at climate issues when it holds “The Global Environment: From Kyoto to Copenhagen” Tuesday. The one-day conference will culminate with a keynote address by William Davis, director of the United Nations Center in Washington, D.C. at 7:30 at the Student Union Building Jordan Ballroom. Earlier in the day, experts and speakers will discuss their takes on possible outcomes of the international summit on climate change this December in Denmark. All sessions except for the luncheon and a reception are free and open to the public. For a complete program and more information, visit www.boisestate.edu/fci
► The 23rd Idaho Energy and Green Building Conference will run from Oct. 21-23 at the DoubleTree Riverside Hotel in Garden City. This year’s theme is “Shaping an Environmental Legacy for Idaho” and will feature assorted general sessions and workshops on energy efficiency issues, stimulus spending, setting energy targets for existing buildings, Idaho’s energy future and other issues. The Idaho Energy Collaborative is sponsoring a session on “Agreeing to Efficiency: A Conversation for a Statewide Energy Efficiency Agreement for Idaho’s Cities and Counties” on Thursday. That session will be aimed at run from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and is aimed at beginning a dialog on how cities and counties can commit to reaching energy efficiency targets. For more information or to register, visit www.idahocities.org
► The Idaho Legislature’s Interim Energy, Environment and Technology Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday at the Capitol Annex, just east of the Idaho Statehouse. Tuesday’s session runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature presentations by Office of Energy Resources Administrator Paul Kjellander; a presentation on codifying OER by Sen. Kate Kelly; a presentation on invasive species by Rep. Eric Anderson; and discussions on possible legislation dealing with implementation of the 2007 Idaho Energy Plan, incentives for renewable energy, and assistance for low-income utility customers. Wednesday’s session will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include a discussion on fees for impacts of growth on utility systems; a presentation on energy independence districts by Lane Packwood of the state Department of Commerce; and a presentation on federal carbon legislation by Rich Walje, president of Rocky Mountain Power.
►Idaho Power’s Integrated Resource Plan Advisory Committee will meet Thursday, Oct. 22, at the company’s Boise headquarters. The IRPAC is a citizens group charged with advising the company on its plans to meet future energy needs through conservation and generation resources. This IRPAC began meeting in 2008, but its work was halted last spring because the company decided to freshen its projected power needs in the wake of the ongoing recession. Idaho Power has advised the Public Utilities Commission that it intends to submit its 2009 IRP by year’s end. For more information on the IRP, visit http://www.idahopower.com/AboutUs/PlanningForFuture/irp/default.cfm
Thursday’s meeting begins at 10 a.m. and is expected to run through 3 p.m. It is open to the public.
► The Idaho Environmental Forum’s next session will be Oct. 26 and will focus on salmon and hydropower issues in the Pacific Northwest. “The Obama Administration’s New Take on Salmon and Federal Hydropower: Real Progress or More of the Same” will be held from noon to about 1:15, with a lunch buffet beginning at 11:30 a.m. Speakers include Norm Semanko, executive director and general counsel at the Idaho Water Users Association; Bert Bowler, founder of Snake River Salmon Solutions; and Bill McDonald, director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Pacific Northwest Region. For more information and to register, visit http://www.idahoenvironmentalforum.org/Upcoming%20Sessions.html