Former Public Utilities Commissioner Joe Miller called Idaho’s Power’s renewable energy proposals “extreme and radical” aimed at “crippling future development and punishing existing power producers.”
Miller, who represents Ridgeline Energy, a wind farm owner, said proposals to transfer renewable energy credits, curtail existing wind power and to reduce contract lengths from 20 to five years would stop future development and hurt the financial viability of current projects. Regrettably he said the PUC’s own staff signed on.
Kristine Sasser, an assistant attorney general who is a part of the PUC staff, responded that the commission has the authority to carry out most of what Idaho Power proposed. She said the state is not required to ensure that renewable projects are financially viable.
Sasser said the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act has its place as long as the power is needed and it is priced fairly.
Idaho Power attorney Donovan Walker said the oversupply of wind power it was forced to buy since 2010 will cost its customers tens of millions of dollars over the next few years they would otherwise not have to pay.
The other two utilities wrapped up the three-day hearing saying the main issue is fixing the method of pricing PURPA power. But Walker called on the PUC to be “courageous” and reform the system of carrying out the federal law as Idaho Power has proposed.
“We believe we have proposed very reasoned and rational proposals,” Walker said.