Rocky Mountain Power requests approval from Idaho PUC to lower wind, solar integration rates

Published on October 19, 2017 by Alex Murtha

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Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) recently requested approval from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to significantly lower the rates it charges to integrate wind and solar energy into its system.

Specifically, RMP’s proposal calls for lowering the integration rate from its current $3.06 per megawatt hour (MWh) to $0.57 per MWh. It also requested to set the rate for solar energy purchases to $0.60 per MWh.

RMP said its analysis found that the costs of wind energy and its integration had fallen significantly since the current integration rate was set in 2008 and that solar generation on its system had been insignificant in the past but is expected to exceed 1,000 MWs by the end of the year.

If approved, all rates would apply to facilities that qualify for 20-year contracts under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which requires regulated utilities to purchase energy from specified independent power producers at state-established rates.

In Idaho, facilities that are powered by intermittent sources such as wind or solar and are smaller than 100 kilowatts qualify for 20-year contracts at the published rate set by the Idaho PUC.

The company’s application noted that its new rates would not apply to any facility developer if purchase agreements stipulate that the energy is not intermittent but can be delivered to the utility on a “firm hourly schedule.”

Idaho PUC said it is accepting comments on the case through Nov. 9.