PacifiCorp to Add Powerby Patricia McCoy
Capital Press, October 26, 2007
Wind will provide most of wattage, say officials
PacifiCorp, operating as Rocky Mountain Power in Eastern Idaho, will add about 2,000 megawatts of renewable power to its grid over the next 10 years.
Wind power will provide most of the added megawattage, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission said.
The IPUC recently accepted PacifiCorp's 10 year Integrated Resources Plan, though stressing in a news release announcing the plan that accepting it is not an endorsement.
Integrated resources plans are planning documents that incorporate many assumptions and projections. Accepting them acknowledges an ongoing planning process, not the conclusions or the results, IPUC spokesmen wrote.
PacifiCorp also plans added gas and coal facilities, all in the other five states it serves but not Idaho, the announcement said.
Rocky Mountain Power is the former Utah Power and Light Co. It serves about 68,000 customers in Eastern Idaho. The company projects growth of about 3.2 percent in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, and 0.8 percent growth on its west side, which includes Washington state, Oregon and Northern California.
PacifiCorp is slightly behind on its renewable acquisition target, with 335 megawatts of the targeted 400 megawatts expected to be online by the end of 2007. Wind project costs have been higher than expected, PUC staff wrote. However, wind projects don't have the price volatility impacting fuel costs or the costs of mitigation requirements that come with carbon emissions from coal plants.
Idaho does not require utilities to obtain a set portion of energy from renewable resources but other states do. That could impact Idaho customers, PUC staff stated in the news release. The renewable standard constrains PacifiCorp's resource acquisition and may expose Idaho customers to the financial impacts based less on economics and more on politics.
For that reason, PUC staff is urging the Idaho commission to become more involved in the company's planning processes to make sure Idaho ratepayers are well-represented.
PacifiCorp's largest customer in its six-state territory is Monsanto's elemental phosphorus plant based in Soda Springs, Idaho.
Company spokesmen are concerned that other states have a disproportionate influence on the company's capital procurements, IPUC staff wrote.
Monsanto is asking that the utility be required to increase its demand-side reduction programs, avoid the development of new gas-fired generation, and look instead to nuclear- and coal-fired generation, using clean coal technology.
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