Idaho Power: Wind Power Intermittent, Short Notice Driving Up Costs

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Idaho Power says it is nearing its limit of integrating wind power into its power grid and wants to start charging more to wind developers.

The utility claims that wind generation is intermittent at best, and forces the company to modify its systems to depend more on hydro or natural gas on short notice. According to Idaho Power, the abrupt modifications result in higher supply costs, which are passed onto customers.

Idaho Power insists that costs associated with wind integration are currently "under collected" and discounts to customers average about $3.42 per megawatt hour. That is compared to a 2007 study that the utility conducted, which estimated integration costs were about $7.92 per MWh.

As for its capacity limits, Idaho Power says it currently has about 679 megawatts of wind capacity on its system, with 505 MW coming online in the past three years alone.

Following public comments, Idaho Power and wind and renewable energy partners are expected to participate in a settlement conference July 9.


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