Idaho Energy Update
Sept. 12, 2008
The developer of the proposed nuclear reactor near Mountain Home has released an updated financial report showing the company has rolled up a deficit of more than $7.7 million since the project was announced less than two years ago. Meanwhile, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission wants to hear from ratepayers on a proposed natural gas price hike by Intermountain Gas; and the feds are preparing a series of open houses to brief the public and plan an environmental impact statement for a massive electric transmission line that would run from Montana to near Jerome.
For details on these and other developments, please read on.
Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them my way!
Clean Energy Program Director
Snake River Alliance
I: Elmore Nuke Plant Developer Releases Latest Audited Numbers
With its rezoning hearing in Elmore County approaching, Alternative Energy Holdings, Inc., has filed its latest “Information and Disclosure Statement” on its financials. The report confirms that AEHI, the developer of a proposed 1,600MW nuclear reactor along the Snake River in Elmore County, has rolled up $7,750,761 in accumulated deficit and total assets of $489,757. It also reported AEHI had a net loss from operations of $2,212,174 for the three months ending June 30.
The “Accountant Reviewed June 30, 2008, Financial Statements” were posted on the Pink Sheets website on Thursday. In an Aug. 28 letter to the AEHI Board of Directors and stockholders accompanying the report, the accounting firm Rotenberg & Co. of Rochester, NY, included similar language it added to an earlier report: “The company’s significant operating losses raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern,” the accounting firm said.
In notes attached to the financial statements, it was disclosed that so far this year, AEHI issued 20,507,717 additional shares of common stock valued at $2,050,772 “for services.” Another 9,941,750 shares of common stock were issued for cash, bringing in $994,175. The company also reported it had 290 shareholders of common stock.
AEHI claims it is negotiating with Powered Corporation of Houston, Texas, to secure an estimated $50 million needed to purchase land for the reactor site and also to prepare the complex application for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The company says it plans to seek its NRC permit sometime in 2009.
Meantime, the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission will hold the first of four public meetings on AEHI’s rezoning request for the reactor on Oct. 8 in Mountain Home. Subsequent hearings will be on Oct. 22, 29, and Nov. 5.
Additional information on the Elmore County P&Z public hearings on AEHI’s rezoning application is attached.
To review AHEI’s financial filings, go to: http://www.pinksheets.com/pink/quote/quote.jsp?symbol=AEHI#getFilings
II: Comments Due Sept. 25 on Intermountain Gas Price Hike
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments through Sept. 25 on a request by Intermountain Gas to boost its prices in light of higher prices for the utility’s gas supplies.
The state’s largest gas utility files a request every year to reflect changes in wholesale prices for natural gas. Last year, customers received an 8 percent decrease because gas prices were lower than expected. They received a 4 percent decrease the year before as well. But this year, the utility is asking the PUC to approve a one-year increase of about 15 percent, or $7.90 a month for customers who use gas for space heating only. For those who use gas for space and water heating, the increase is about 18 percent, or $12.30 a month, depending on gas use.
This proposed rate increase is for one year; the utility will come back this time next year with another request that will reflect changes in gas prices. The PUC said Avista, which serves gas customers in northern Idaho, also has a pending price hike.
“In the face of ever-increasing expenses from all utilities, the commission continues to encourage customers to participate in energy efficiency programs available through community action agencies and the utilities,” the PUC said in a news release. “Custoemrs can also take advantage of level-pay plans and programs that can assist customers on low and fixed incomes.”
The PUC said customers can learn more by clicking the “Consumer Information” link on the top left corner of the agency’s web site at www.puc.idaho.gov.
Meanwhile, as reported here last week, the PUC is expected to announce soon plans to convene a series of workshops to examine the growing problem of customers struggling to cope with rising utility bills. We’ll keep you posted on those workshops when they’re announced.
III: Transmission Line Meetings Set for Twin, Arco, Idaho Falls
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has set a series of hearings in Montana and Idaho to brief the public on its environmental studies for a large new transmission line proposed to run from Townsend, MT, to Idaho Power’s Midpoint transmission substation just north of Jerome in Idaho’s Magic Valley.
South Dakota-based NorthWestern Energy proposed to build a new 500kv electric transmission line across federal, state, and other lands, so BLM has announced plans to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to review possible environmental, cultural, and other impacts from NorthWestern’s proposed Mountain States Transmission Intertie (MSTI) project.
The Idaho scoping meetings are planned for Sept. 16 at the Red Lion Canyon Springs in Twin Falls, Sept. 17 at the Arco Butte Business Incubator Center, and Sept. 18 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Idaho Falls. Al meetings will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
As part of their environmental review, federal agencies expect to hear from the public about possible concerns on how the transmission line might impact such things as agricultural lands, plant and wildlife habitat, water resources, cultural and historic resources, and other issues
The project received substantial attention earlier this year when it was revealed that one of the route alternatives would run just north of Craters of the Moon National Monument and very close to nearby city of Carey. The line would require towers standing about 125 feet high with an average span of 1,400 feet and a right-of-way of about 220 feet.
To review the notice for the scoping meetings and more details about the project, go to:http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-19335.htm. And for additional information, including maps of the proposed project, go to: http://blm.gov/mt/st/en/prog/lands_realty/projects.htm.
On the Agenda:
► Idaho Power holds the second meeting of its Integrated Resource Plan Advisory Committee on Thursday, Sept. 18, at the company’s Boise headquarters. The meeting will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
► The Idaho Public Utilities Commission holds its next decision meetings on Sept. 15, 22, and 29. Agendas are normally posted the day before on the Commission’s website at www.puc.state.id.us
► The Idaho Water Resources Research Institute’s Water Resources, Hydrology Seminar continues Sept. 16 with a seminar on “Climate Change, Fire, and Streamflow in the Boise River Basin. U.S. Forest Service Research Hydrologist Charles Luce from the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station in Boise will present at the seminar, which is open to all interested professionals, legislators, water supply managers, local government representatives, attorneys, students, and the interested public. He’ll discuss a variety of issues flowing from changes in mountain snow accumulation.
The seminar will be held at multiple locations around the state from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. MDT. For more information and for the university locations to participate in the seminar, visit: http://www.iwrri.uidaho.edu/default.aspx?pid=33437
► The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service will be taking public comments through Sept. 19 on the multi-agency programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) to expedite geothermal leasing on federal lands. BLM and USFS held a workshop in Boise on July 21 to discuss their geothermal leasing program, and they’ll continue to solicit public input on issues that need to be explored as the agencies consider geothermal leases on western lands in the future. More than 50 people turned out for the Boise meeting – twice the attendance of any prior meetings! For more information, go to: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/energy/geothermal/geothermal_nationwide.html
► The Idaho Legislature’s Energy, Environment & Technology Interim Committee will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 17 and then from 8 a.m. to noon on Sept. 18 at the Capitol Annex in Room 204 in Boise. The agenda has not been determined; we’ll advise as soon as it is.