"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 (PPAs) acquired under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) process have decreased. In light of these changes, we expect to be able to acquire energy resources without concluding the RFP at this time.
"We believe it is the right decision for our customers, our company and our shareholders to not award a wind power contract at this time through the RFP process," Grow continued. "Although the RFP process concluded without a PPA being signed, Idaho Power maintains its strong commitment to renewable resources and will continue its efforts to add these resources to its portfolio.
"While working to maximize the value of our existing hydroelectric generation resources, we continue to remain focused on developing a balanced resource portfolio that includes adding new, non-hydroelectric renewable resources like wind, geothermal and solar," Grow said. "At Idaho Power, we’re continually planning for the future and must take steps to position our company to meet upcoming obligations and anticipated regulation while considering impacts to our customers and owners."
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 energy, 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.
Idaho Power has a number of net metering agreements with customers who own small residential solar projects, but this project is the first sales agreement with a larger provider. 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.
Idaho Power identified a need for additional wind resources in its 2006 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The company develops its IRP every two years using a collaborative public process connecting Idaho Power resource and planning experts with government, public, customer and environmental stakeholders. The need for additional wind resources was reaffirmed in the June 2008 IRP update and again in the 2009 IRP.
Today, wind-powered generation on the Idaho Power system, including generation under contract through PURPA contracts, exceeds the wind-powered generation identified in the company’s 2006 and 2009 resource plans.