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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.

Since then, Idaho Power Co., as well as the two other major electric utilities that serve the state, Avista Corp. and PacifiCorp, have completed studies to determine wind integration costs and are now proposing that the published rate for wind be discounted to cover the costs of wind being integrated into a system and that the size limit of projects that can qualify for the rate be brought back up to 10 MW.

The three utilities differ on how much the discount should be, but the proposals are in the $5 to $10 per megawatt-hour range. The current posted rate for generation from renewable small-power projects, absent a discount rate, is about $64 per MWh. Wind developers have argued that the discount rates are too great.

The commission is now accepting comments on what those integration costs could be. Comments must be received by Sept. 21. To comment visit, www.puc.idaho.gov and click on “Comments & Questions.” Fill in the case number (IPC-E-07-03 for Idaho Power; AVU-07-02 for Avista and PAC-E-07-07 for PacifiCorp) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or fax to (208) 334-3762.

Idaho Statesman

24 August 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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