Idaho Power, Solar and Wind Developers To Face Off Tuesday

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Three days of hearings, scheduled to begin Tuesday, Aug. 7, will pit Idaho's largest utility against alternative energy developers with hundreds of thousands of Gem State consumers in the middle.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is hoping to iron out differences between Idaho Power and numerous solar and wind developers hoping to get plugged into the region's power grid. But Idaho Power wants the option of saying "no" to alternate energy projects, especially when they say there is little need for extra power.

In fact, Idaho Power argues that the Public Utility Regulatory Polices Act, better known as PURPA, allows some alternate energy developers to lock in contracts while driving up electric rates. But at least one provider, Boise-based Exergy Development, said its Idaho wind turbine projects create hundreds of jobs and millions in much-needed revenue for local governments.