Low Prices for Wind Power PPA Kill Idaho Power Deal

Low prices for power purchase agreements helped kill plans by Idaho Power to buy 150 MW of wind powered electric generation through a request for proposal (RFP) process.

“In the end the RFP no longer provided a competitive resource,” said Idaho Power Senior Vice President of Power Supply Lisa Grow. “Since issuing our RFP more than a year ago, the wind energy market has changed dramatically and prices for power purchase agreements acquired under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (process have decreased.” 

Grow said that in light of these changes, the utility expects to be able to acquire energy resources without concluding the RFP.

In May 2009, Idaho Power, issued an RFP seeking to purchase approximately 150 MW of wind-powered generation by 2012. The RFP generated considerable interest from wind developers. Idaho Power negotiated a contract with the clear front runner. However, it was jointly determined that the two parties were ultimately not going to be able to reach a final agreement. On Friday, Aug. 13, Idaho Power closed its RFP without awarding a contract.

Idaho Power currently has contracted for more than 600 MW from PURPA projects that contribute to the company’s resource portfolio. These PURPA renewable generation projects include hydroelectric, wind, solar and biomass. The company recently filed for approval by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) its first PURPA agreement with a solar power project.

Additionally, in July the IPUC approved Idaho Power requests to enter into power sales agreements with the developer of three Magic Valley anaerobic digester power projects. The IPUC regulates the terms, conditions and rates for Idaho Power’s PURPA contracts.

This article was reprinted with permission from Power Engineering as part of the PennWell Corporation Renewable Energy World Network and may not be reproduced without express written permission from the publisher.

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