100 MW Of New Solar Power Plants Approved In Idaho

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

first wind logo100 MW of new solar energy power plants, and accompanying 20-year power purchase agreements, have been approved for development in the state of Idaho, according to recent reports.

Said 100 MW of capacity is spread out across five 20 MW solar PV plants, and five 20-year power purchase agreements — agreements that are valued at ~$322.5 million over the period that they are active. Said terms provide an average levelized rate of ~6.3 cents per kWh for the energy purchaser, the Idaho Power Company. The Idaho Power Company expects to buy ~250,000 MWh from the five power plants.

The Boston-based renewables developer First Wind (yeah, I know, the company name is misleading) reportedly expects to complete the projects by the end of 2016. They are being developed in the southern portion of the state… in case you happen to know or live in Idaho.

Despite the approval via the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, those involved have noted “concerns” that they have with regard to the federal law backing the contracts (the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act) — noting that utilites may be “compelled” to purchase electricity that they do not need.

The new deal represents just one of many that the Idaho Power Company has made over recent months — most of which involve projects backed by the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act. With regard to that Act, it works via forcing/requiring regulated electric firms to purchase energy from qualified independent renewable energy projects at rates previously decided upon by state commissions.

Altogether, these new deals made by Idaho Power total 13 projects and 400 MW of capacity — projects that are all expected to come online by the end of next year (when the federal Investment Tax Credit expires).

As of right now, there are no utility-scale solar energy power plants operating in Idaho, so the recent deals are quite notable. Currently, the state receives a significant amount of its power from its numerous hydroelectric facilities.

Image Credit: First Wind

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book

Holiday Wish Book Cover

Click to download.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

22 thoughts on “100 MW Of New Solar Power Plants Approved In Idaho

  • Idaho gets 78% of its electricity from hydro which can marry perfectly with solar and wind power. Nearby WA and OR also are top hydro states and their wind farms work well with the dams that can dispatch power in seconds.
    It would seem the PacNW already has significant battery storage to combine with new wind and solar that California would gladly purchase.

    • And to the north…British Columbia with 90% hydro and vast off shore wind resources and good solar in the interior. We supply California grids sometimes, when we can gouge price. Unfortunately the bumpkins that run this government lack any initiative to make b.c. An overproducer of clean energy. Although they know the phrase “clean energy” they believe it refers to the immense quantities of natural gas waiting to be fracked loose from the stubborn ground.

      • Multi-state EV corridor?

        • So what? Solar makes no power at night, power cannot be stored, it costs 3 to 5 times more to generate solar power than with natural gas, and 100MW is nearly nothing when compared to any natural gas plant which generates around 500MW all year round 24 hours a day. Solar will never be anything but a novelty, until and unless someone develops a way to store power and they bring the cost for photo cells down. There is no answer to these problems anywhere on the horizon. The facts clearly leave solar and wind out of our national interest, that is why we generate LESS than 6% of our power now with solar and wind, despite Obama wasting tens of billions of dollars buying votes from the Greenies and throwing tens of billions of dollars at his political supporters. I have the facts from the United States Department of Energy to back me up. What do you have? Emotion and no technical data to support your position.

          • “Solar makes no power at night, power cannot be stored, ”

            As long as you ignore PuHS, CAES, flow batteries, various battery chemistries and a few other ideas in development. You’d have to ignore the fact that we already store and time-shift a significant amount of power

            ” it costs 3 to 5 times more to generate solar power than with natural gas,”

            Solar is running 6.5 cents to 8.5 cents per kWh. That’s unsubsidized. NG is running a bit over 6 cents. Your multiplier is badly incorrect.

            ” Solar will never be anything but a novelty, until and unless someone develops a way to store power and they bring the cost for photo cells down.”

            Wrong. If you don’t know why just start reading this comment from the top.

            ” The facts clearly leave solar and wind out of our national interest, that is why we generate LESS than 6% of our power now with solar and wind,”

            Once the final numbers are in for 2014 I think we’ll find that wind and solar combined will have exceeded 6%. That’s not bad when we look at how very recently their prices dropped to the point at which they were economically viable. Wind and solar, in only short years, have just about caught up with hydro. They should cross over nuclear in the next 5-7 years and move into third place.

            You should probably check those numbers. If you’re using the EIA 2019 projected costs then you’re using some very flawed numbers. If you’re using the EIA monthly and year to date numbers for solar production then you’re missing the electricity generated and consumed behind the meter (residential and commercial).

          • You have not brought any data to this discussion, only your opinion. You have no way to support your contention that solar/wind have “caught up” to hydro. They are not even close. And if you try to use “batteries”, or any other storage methods, you will drastically increase installation and operating costs. Sure, I would love solar and wind to work, but I cannot change the fact that they do not. My irritation is that Obama and the Greenies told us that solar and wind were the new technologies that would bring us all “inexpensive, green power.” This not only did not turnout to be true, they knew it was not true before they began to waste tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on building operational plants that would not even work under laboratory conditions. I hate being lied too, and that is what happened.

          • I’ll give you some more recent numbers. The first eight months of 2014.

            Hydro generated 184,714 million kWh.
            Solar generated 12,346 million kWh.
            Wind generated 122,022 million kWh.

            Solar and wind, combined, generated 72.7% as much electricity as did hydro.


            ” if you try to use “batteries”, or any other storage methods, you will drastically increase installation and operating costs”

            Yes, but stored wind and stored solar is cheaper than new nuclear and new coal. It’s cheaper than coal if we include the external costs.

            ” I would love solar and wind to work, but I cannot change the fact that they do not.”

            That is a belief statement on your part. Facts do not support your claim. Solar is clearly providing significant amount of electricity and its role is rapidly growing,

            There’s no need for you to be irritated. PBO and the Greenies were correct Wind and solar are taking over market share from fossil fuels and beginning to lower prices in places where an adequate amount has been installed.

            With Iowa and South Dakota now getting more than 25% of their electricity from wind it’s a bit hard to see how renewables won’t work. The data is staring you in the face showing you that they do work.

          • You must not have kids or grand children. I don’t understand why people don’t understand yet that cheaper may not always be better.
            Solar doesn’t produce power at night. Your right! It only produces power everyday when the sun comes up and thats when most of us use power too. Natural gas power plants don’t have storage either they just burn gas when the demand is there.

      • Last time I checked, those bumpkins supported significant renewable overproduction in the form of the site C dam, whereas so-called environmentalists oppose that project. Sure, much more can and should be done than just building another dam, but it’s a damn good start.

        It’s not a new, pristine river being spoiled. The Peace River already hosts two dams, so the ‘damage’ would be purely local.

    • If you’ve got hydro you can hold back and sell as dispatchable power you’ve got a gold mine.

      Install solar and wind and use it for as much of your electricity as possible. Save your hydro Sell power in competition with peakers and storage.

      • SURE you can, IF you have hydro. We have already used all the best hydro locations for dams, and the environmentalists are NEVER going to let us build any more. I support them on this one.

        • We’ve got quite a bit more hydro to bring on line. 10 GW could be added by converting existing dams.


          Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has identified more than 65 gigawatts of untapped hydropower potential in US rivers and streams. Run or the river hydro.


          That’s new production possible in the US. As well we can move some existing hydro from producer roles to fill-in roles. Upgrading turbines if needed so that we can pull out more power in shorter times.

          • Do you know how much of that 65GW is run of the river and/or low head? Those do not allow long term storage, so are an alternative to wind/solar rather than a backup for it.

            As for the link about powering unpowered dam: excellent ideas, but aren’t most of those dams agricultural reservoirs or flood control dams? I’d assume that even after installing the turbines, water flow will continue to be regulated in function of agriculture and flood protection, which isn’t always the same as the needs of the power grid.

            Still, there can be little doubt that there is further potential for hydro backup.

          • All 65 GW is ROR according to ORNL. This is ‘always on’ production, not dispatchable.

            We have around 80,000 existing dams but use only about 2,500 for power production. The other 10 GW almost certainly was screened out of the 77,500 existing dams after checking for feasibility. Some of it might be dispatchable. Some of it might be generation timed by something other than demand.

  • Yes, NG is killing coal. But NG is a finite fuel and we may run out a lot sooner than the natural gas industry would have us think. Clearly we can’t rely on NG for the next 50 years, we will run out if we continue to use at present or accelerated rates.

    You have said multiple times that we can’t store wind and solar. Every time you’ve made that claim you have been wrong.

    You are simply repeating claims which you have made and which have been disputed. Wind and solar can be stored.

    The EIA 2019 perdition numbers are badly flawed.

    If you’re just going to troll the site by showing no ability to take on new information then you need to leave.

    As for the price of electricity in Germany – it’s taxes.

    German industry, which isn’t taxed on electricity use, pays less than average EU27 prices for their electricity

    Take away the taxes that German retail customers pay and the cost of electricity is about the same as some of our NE states.

    Germans are paying extra for electricity at the moment. What they are doing is investing in affordable renewable energy via the FiT programs that were created to build renewable industries and bring prices down.

    Those investments will be paid off. The cost will be diluted by inexpensive wind and solar added to their grids. We all should be grateful for the heavy lifting Germany has done for the rest of the world.

    • I need to leave? Of course, you are an Obama loving liberal who thinks that they can control other people’s right to free speech. Now I understand where you are coming from.
      Show me where you can support your statement that solar is 6-8 cents a KWH. It is FAR more than that. I notice you love to make claims for which you never provide any documentation/links.
      So here is my link to substantiate my statement that solar (and wind too) are FAR more expensive and less available than NG.
      Again, I have nothing against solar OR wind, except I hate being lied to about it, by my own president and those who benefited from those lies, like the “green industry” snake oil salesmen who took tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money and pocketed much of it themselves.
      Same for ethanol. Once the government subsidizes an industry, you will find that those who profit from wasted taxpayer money will contribute to the campaigns of the same government that gave them the “opportunity” to screw the taxpayer, and the funniest thing is they do it with taxpayer money! Funny how that works………..

      • First, you have no right of free speech on a web site. You need to actually read the Constitution.

        Second, you need to quit insulting people or you will be banned.

        Third, I gave you a graph of 2014 PPA prices for solar. You saw the graph and commented on it so you are being dishonest in your claim that you have not been given documentation. In fact, I have given you documentation every time you have requested it. There is no room here for dishonest people.

        I don’t see your price link but I assume you are reposting the Wiki page htat lists the flawed 2019 estimates from the EIA. You have been given documented information showing those numbers wrong.

        Now, either show some civility and acknowledge the information you have been given or go someplace with lower standards.

        • YOU own this site? YOU work for the Herald? You are threatening me? You are going to take down my posts?
          Just how are you going to accomplish this?

        • I appreciate your warning to keep the entries useful and civil.

          As to solar “only” working in the day, well, it’s working for people on the other side of the world when it’s night here. Should we and they therefore ignore that free, ongoing, clean energy source because it is periodically gone, or use it when it is there?

          If we were to use the clean energy sources first when they are available we would radically decrease the general need for fossil fuels. If we develop an ethical will, we will find an economic way.

  • Great article, thanks for sharing and exciting news!

    How did you get the PPA price of $0.63/kWh though? I get more like thirteen cents. My math:

    Multiply 100 MW by 1,200,000 kWh/MW-yr (aggressive insolation rate for Iowa), then multiply by 20 years = 120,000,000 kWh produced over 20 years.

    Divide $322,500,000 dollars by 120,000,000 kWh = $0.13/kWh. Am I missing something?

    • $0.063/kWh. 6.3 cents, not 63 cents.

      Thirteen cents for utility solar would be very expensive. 2014 PPAs clustered around 5 cents.

      I can’t tell you how to get from the numbers listed to a kWh price. Insolation would already be figured into production amounts. You’ve used insolation to cut expected production by ~ 50% (250,000 MWh to 120,000 MWh) which would double the 6.3 to your 13 cents per kWh.

Comments are closed.