100 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
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