Idaho Power defends proposal to curtail wind in times of low demand

Idaho Power did not take all of the power produced by a wind plant last spring in times of low power use on its system, an executive testified before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission Tuesday

Tessia Park, Idaho Power director of load-serving operations, acknowledged that Idaho Power curtailed the power from Rockland Wind’s turbines for more than 35 hours, which reduced the amount of revenue the wind farm made. This was done under a provision in federal law that allows the utility to take such steps in times of emergency, when the utility's system is in jeopardy.

The utility is asking the commission to approve a policy for managing power from wind projects beyond emergency circumstances. It says it's necessary to manage its system in periods of light loads. The utility would do this to protect its customers from having to pay higher costs from other power plants it would need for back up.

Attorney Joe Miller, who represents wind developers, suggested the policy that would harm his clients was put together without input from the developers themselves.

“Did Idaho power initiate any informal process to address light loading in a collaborative way with the Idaho renewable industry?” Miller asked Park.

“Not specifically, no,” she answered.

A major issue raised is how long renewable projects could be curtailed under the proposal. Idaho Power said the light load period when it might need to curtil is about 5 percent of the time, but would go up if it had too much new renewable power come on line.

Commissioner Paul Kjellander asked if the renewable power already in the company's queue constitutes a perfect storm that would require curtailment longer than 5 percent; Park answered that it could.

Later, Robert Looper, who testified for Dynamis Energy, said Idaho Power had many more opportunities to integrate its wind power with its gas plants than it is using.

"A project like Langley Gulch has the capability to integrate hundreds and hundreds of megawatts of wind when they are on line," Looper said.


What a company!

Wind Energy vs Idaho Power

If only we had a choice who we can buy our residential power from. If I did it would not be Idaho Power. What a monoply!

Ah yes,

Buy it from the Wind Developers!

For once, Idaho Power makes sense

Idaho Power has a well-deserved reputation for abusing its monopoly position.

However, when it comes to being able to purchase power at the lowest available rates, Idaho Power makes sense, for once. There is no reason why Idaho Power should have to pay more.

The tax credit shift is just a money-grab, and it should be denied -- the credits should remain with the power producers, since that is the point of having them at all. Moreover, to the extent that the credits allow the purchasers to charge less, that could make the renewable power less expensive for Idaho Power and, ultimately, for all of us.

Letting Idaho Power purchase power at the lowest possible rates also makes sense for the future of renewable energy. The current system does not encourage low cost development of renewable power -- as long as one can develop power at less cost than the guaranteed price, it is worth building, even if the power is more expensive and less efficient than other renewable sources. Allowing a market mechanism will assure that we obtain the best renewable technologies.

There probably are fixes to be made to the regulatory system to make sure that Idaho Power has a fair market, but those are details. Right now, we need to stop the abuse of the regulatory system. I say this, moreover, as a former wind turbine developer who would like to see more wind power. We just need to see a proper market mechanism select the winners and losers.

If they don't need

wind power, why are we paying higher rates to bring the new nat gas plant on line??? Ever since out of state investors bought IP, its been on a downhill slide with the customers by way of higher rates. Yes they can claim the cheapest rates in the nation but when the rest of the country is waking up to the possibilities of wind power, it doesn't make sense for IP to keep refusing to take advantage of it.

On a recent trip thru eastern Oregon, the wind turbines around North Powder are increasing every year. Seems like the little electrical co-op operating predominately in LaGrande-Baker-surrounding areas has made the leap of faith to use less oil. Europe has relied on wind power for years and I do not understand why this seems to be a losing battle in Idaho.

If you follow the testimony...

It is about demand versus availability (Light Load times are over night when there is no demand and the wind blows, and heavy use times, when for some reason it doesn't!)
Not too sure who you are referring to as "out of state investors", but Idaho Power has been a public company for quite some time...
Also, if you researched who buys the generation from the Wind Farms near North Powder, I would be quite surprised to see the co-op listed!

The OBVIOUS question is this...

Why would it be Idaho Power's sole burden to deal with co-generation?

Does anyone recall a device so common on farms during the early 20th century that has been re-examined and improved upon today?


Every home has some degree of regenerating power. A roof. The wind. Current platforms for energy efficiency heavily emphasize these simple and readily available things.

Energy EFFICIENCY is not just SAVING USAGE. It is using the available sources to reduce use on the standard network.

As I understand, Idaho Power Company was always a stock corporation, from the mergers that formed the original entity in 1916 through to it's current reorganized status as part of IDACORP. Investment is not evil. Investment is the life's blood and soul of ANY traded company and certainly the PRIVATELY HELD ones.

Mathematics, economics and CIVICS are all part of the same thing and the loss of one or more spell bad times or doom for all businesses. To ignore this is insane.

Stop and focus on the whole or you are essentially of no use to complain.

If you are not educated of this you have wasted a lifetime.


You fry wants with that?