Agreement between PacifiCorp, east Idaho wind energy projects approved

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has approved a sales agreement between PacifiCorp and the developer of two wind power projects near American Falls. PacifiCorp does business in eastern Idaho as Rocky Mountain Power.

The two wind turbines projects, called Power County Wind Farm North and Power County Wind Farm South, will deliver up to 10 average megawatts per month. The scheduled online date is Dec. 31, 2011. The developer is Boise-based Windland, Inc.

The wind energy projects qualify for rates posted by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission under the provisions of the federal Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA.

Enacted during the energy crisis of the late 1970s, PURPA is intended to encourage the promotion and development of renewable energy technologies as alternatives to burning fossil fuels or the construction of new power plants.

PURPA requires that regulated electric utilities buy power produced from qualifying small-power producers or cogenerators. The rate to be paid developers is to be equal to the cost the electric utility avoids if it would have had to generate the power itself or purchase it from another source.