- Idaho Power is seeking approval from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission for a 20-year power purchase agreement on the 80 megawatt Grand View PV Solar Two project, scheduled for operation by July 1, 2016, at a levelized price of $73.41 per megawatt-hour, and for a similar PPA on the 40 megawatt Boise City Solar project scheduled for operation by January 16, 2016, at a levelized price of $72.15 per megawatt-hour.
- Though Idaho has no renewables mandate and the utility indicated no need for new generation in its most recent integrated resource plan, the solar developers qualified for PPAs under the terms of the 1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) which requires utilities, under specific circumstances, to contract for small renewables.
- Idaho Power has 777 megawatts of PURPA contract capacity, primarily wind, and another 103 megawatts scheduled to be online by 2016 in Idaho, and, in Oregon, it has 60 megawatts of proposed solar as well as developers with an estimated 300 megawatts of project capacity seeking PURPA contracts.
The Grand View levelized price comes from prices ranging between an off-peak rate of $31 per megawatt-hour to a peak demand rate of $159 per megawatt-hour later in the contract. The Boise City levelized price comes from prices ranging between an off-peak rate of $44 per megawatt-hour to a peak demand rate of $113 per megawatt-hour later in the contract.
In response to the second energy crisis of the 1970s, the federal PURPA law required U.S. utilities to contract for independently developed renewables and cogeneration as part of an effort to develop domestic resources and break utility monopolies.
Both Idaho Power and PacifiCorp, in Utah, are seeing an increase in solar developers seeking PURPA-privileged contracts.