Settlement talks got an agreement between some of the parties in the Idaho Public Utilities Commission’s case over pricing of alternative energy contracts under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act.
Only 13 of 25 parties, utilities, public interest groups and renewable energy developers, signed the agreement, which only addressed security deposits and damages. They could not reach agreement on Idaho Power’s proposal to curtail wind generation during period of low demand.
The commission is taking comment on a proposed security deposit paid by small-power producers and damages in the event that projects do not meet their scheduled online date or default. Renewable power projects would post a security deposit of $45 per kilowatt within 30 days after the commission issues its final order approving a power purchase agreement, under the deal.
If the project fails to meet its operation date, delay damages would be calculated based on the difference between the regional market rates for electricity and the rates in the power purchase agreement. This ensures the utility and its customers won’t be paying extra if the utility has to buy power on the market or generate itself to make up for the lost power due to the project’s failure to meet its online date.
Projects have 120 days to cure their default before the agreement may be terminated. The deal only applies to new contracts, not current ones.
This is the smallest piece of the PURPA case which not only includes the curtailment proposal but also petitions from Idaho Power and the state’s other two investor-owned utilities to lower the price and reduce the length of contracts for the power the utilities are required to buy from wind, solar, small hydro, geothermal and other alternative energy producers.
The Commission is expected to rule on this and the larger issues before the end of the year.